Streets Paved With Gold

Go to England they said.  Go to England and you can have anything you want.  They give you a house, they give you a job.  You can have anything you want.  Everything in the world.  All you need to do is go to England.

I sat in darkness for days to get here.  I am not sure how many days.  When it is always dark you have no sense of time.  No sense of where you are.  All I knew was that at some point I would have to run.  Even though I had not seen light for days, not moved my legs.

All this because I want a better life.  A life with no fear.  You can not describe to a person the fear of war if they have not experienced it.  They do not understand what it is like to see your friends killed.  They do not understand what it is like.

Here is where I want my new life to begin.  I want to make a family here.  I want my children to grow up without fear.  I want them to be able to go to school and learn.  I want them to grow up and not have to run.

When you become numb to death, that is when you know that your life has no meaning, there is no purpose.  Or perhaps your purpose is just to avoid death.  Small children who are supposed to be too innocent to understand already understand too much.  They’ve already seen too much.

And here I am now.  I spend my days wandering the streets.  People ignore me.  Not one person looks at me in the eye.  I have no choice but to beg.  All my money is gone.  I was promised a job, but there was none.  No, I lie, there was a job, but I would get no money for it.  I am illegal, what can I do?

So now I walk and I beg.  I walk through this city, a city that is supposed to be where dreams are made.  A city that everyone in the world knows.  All of the famous buildings, I walk past them everyday.  I watch the tourists take pictures.  I want to be like them.  But I can’t.  All I want is to be able to survive.

Sometimes someone will talk to you and ask where you are from.  When you tell them they say they are sorry, they say that they understand.  They don’t understand.  They will never understand.  Do they know how it feels to run?  Do they know how it feels to have everything taken away from you?

I try to persuade myself that they mean well.  In my heart I know that they can never empathise with me.  They will go home to their house, big or small.  Tonight they will eat.  This they know.  I don’t know.  Maybe I will eat tonight, if I don’t, maybe I will eat tomorrow.

As I sit by the train station in the morning I take a newspaper from the floor.  They say we should not be allowed here.  If we are here then we should go home.  We are taking all their money.  I take no money.  I have nothing.

On the cold mornings I dream of my home.  My home that is no longer there.  I feel the warmth, it is not real, but it is an escape.  These are my only escapes.  The only place that I want to be is my home.  I came because I want better.  Now I wonder if what I thought was better is worse.

There are no dead people here though.  There is no fear.  I will sleep on the street in the cold, maybe I will not eat, but I am not frightened.  I hope one day I will go home.  Now though I know, these streets are not paved with gold.

 

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