A New Country
by Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher
My father placed me on a rickety wooden boat with several hundred people to flee the civil war in the only country I knew, Syria. In the distance I heard gunshots. I pictured innocent children sprayed with gunfire as they played in front of their home; their mother’s clutching their chest at the brutal sight of their boy or girl with dead eyes staring back at them.
I’m sixteen, afraid and lonely, but my father assures me Europe will welcome refugees.
“Father, why can’t you and mother come with me?” My voice cracked.
“Son, I haven’t enough money. Your mother and I have to stay behind, but I promise, you will have a better life in Europe and someday we will come to you.” A tear slid down his cheek. “Your mother wishes she could be here, but she is carrying your baby brother or sister and the doctor said she needs to stay on bed rest. She wanted me to tell you she loves you and give this to you.”
The blue wool scarf was scented with my mother’s rose perfume, soft to the touch.
“Okay, let’s go,” the leader of the boat yelled.
I waved to my father until his figure disappeared into the distance and all that surrounded us was the open water of the Mediterranean Sea.
Many hours passed, it grew dark and I shivered from the sea breeze. I wrapped the blue scarf around my chilled neck.
I finally fell asleep, but was shocked awake by the sea, drenching my cold skin; clothes wet and sticky. The waters were rough and the waves steep.
“It’s a severe storm, everyone hold on tight, the waves get rough,” the captain yelled.
The small boat rocked to and fro, the water seeping in. I grabbed the edge of the boat tightly; my hands aching from the grip. Some people couldn’t hold on, fell into the sea and disappeared into the darkness. My heart pounded and body shook. I prayed in soft whispers while women screamed, held their children and the men tried to clear the boat of water with nothing but their two hands.
Water drenched my eyes and I could barely see. I could hear chaos around me. My teeth chattered and my head ached.
After what seemed like an eternity, the waves died down, but we lost many lives. I clasped my hands together in prayer until I saw land. I knew we had reached the new country.
I survived because God’s plan was for me to make a better life.
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Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher
I enjoy reading everyday. If I’m not reading a book, I’m reading the newspaper or a writer’s magazine. Reading helps improve my writing ability. I’m currently also involved in a writer’s workshop to help hone my writing skills and I just recently joined a local book club.