Jeewani Fernando, Grade 8, St Francis Xavier College
"Out of all the people in the world, why does it have to be me?
Out of all the places in the world why does it have to be here?"
The sudden pitter-patter of rain on what you could barely call a roof, awoke the once slumbering small child. Her golden-brown eyes flutter open with fright plastered on every curve of her face. An abrupt roar from the clustering grey clouds sent vibrating chills throughout their bodies, and not even a bat of an eye and the small child had scrambled to her feet and made her way into her brother’s warm embrace. “It’s ok,” He hummed into her ears as he tried to comfort her while smoothing down her thick black mane.
Both now shivering from head to toe, held each other, keeping their warmth from escaping with only a thinly woven length of fabric. The brown earth below them, just as cold as the air, brings no comfort to their misery. The rusting sheet of aluminium roofing hoisted on two uneven sticks did the bare minimum of keeping the jolts of rain pouring down on them fully.
Slowly, as the rain starts to hush into a comfort sound, the pounding on the aluminium now sounding almost like an instrument being played without a purpose, the small girl sways to sleep in her brother’s warmth. The soothing deep humming becoming clearer as the rain complements it, the sound reverberating through every inch in her ear, the harmonious voice reminding her of the nights her mother used to sing to her before she went to sleep. That same tune of the song her mother used to sing, it tugged at her heart so much, her longing to be with her mother and father becoming even stronger.
The brother arched his eyes down from the inky sky and found his sister sleeping sound in his arms. “As long as you stay within my arms, you’ll be safe,” He whispered while he landed a soft kiss on her forehead. His eyes drifted off again to the thousands of tiny stars, it had only been a year since their parents had passed away, now they were left stranded, no one of familiar kin and no place with familiar feeling.
He too then, after a while of star gazing leisurely fell asleep, his head bouncing back up in panic occasionally to see if his sister was still there.
Their passing days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into another year and yet nothing. There was no hope for them, stranded in a country that was not their own and, in a life, they were most alien to.
Every day was a fight for survival. Maybe it wasn't a very happy ending, but there's no one saying they can't change it. There will only be an escape from this when they try, if it means starting from rock bottom, then that's where they'll start, hard work and all.