When I open my eyes next time, I can't see anything, but I hear drums. I push myself up to my knees and listen, trying to place myself in location and time. No, not drums. I realize. Rain. And at that moment I remember. I ran away. I sobbed. I fell asleep. And now it's dark, that's why I can't see. Shit! It must be at least eight. It way passed curfew. A numbness of fright transfixes my body. We are approaching May now and the days were getting longer and longer, though the city is always illuminated hence it's mostly hard to tell whether the sun is still up or only the street lamps light up the dusk, but as far as I can tell it's about eight o'clock when the last rays of the sun disappear.
I have to go home. I stumble to my feet so hastily I almost fall back, but I manage to catch my balance and start out, then again instantly come to a halt. I can't. If the patrols see me, they may help me disappear just like the geek boy. Nevertheless, I can't stay here. It would be safer, but I can't make mum believe I'm dead, too. That would be devastating for her, to lose her daughter and her husband within...This is the point when I realize I don't even know when it's going to be. In fact, I can't recall too much from yesterday evening at all, but I do know I didn't find out when dad's execution takes place. I don't have time for this now. I turn toward a major light spot which I think should be the entrance. I cautiously, yet as fast as I can, scurry up to the almost eaten by wholes door and open it slowly, peeking out to the left then the right and when I'm sure it's just me in the vicinity of the hide-out, I resume walking.
The weather's dropped quite a few degrees without the sun warming the air and I get soaked to the skin before I even get out from the park, but at least the heavy rain masks my massive boots' sound. I love boots, these pair, black and reaches the bottom of my knees, thin layer of steel under my sole, is my favorite, not to mention how useful they are when someone cuts in before you in the queue for fresh food. You only need to "accidentally" stomp on their feet and ta-da, you have your place back. However, for the first time in my life I wouldn't mind if I wore even ballerinas.
I proceed in baby steps toward our flat, which is not too far away fortunately, from alley to alleys so as to take short breaks and wait until the next round of patrols past me. They are looking for exactly youngsters like me who break curfew, which is not even really curfew, since according to it all primary and high school students have to go straight home after last lesson and I personally wouldn't call anything before minimum seven curfew. Though this thought hardly will help me if I get caught so I go back to focus on not doing so.
When a robot comes closer to the alley where I'm currently hiding in than the others did, I'm absolutely positive I'm discovered and the whole word freezes for a heartbeat. I can't breath, I can't move, I can't think and for a second I believe that I'm dead, that I was killed so quickly I didn't even notice as my heart misses a beat. Then a flashlight lits up the dumpster across from me so brightly I see it as fire, and I snap out of it. Heart racing to catch up with itself so fast, I can even hear it in my ears. I breath too fast, but at least I can think and I can move and I jump into the dumpster next to me.
I land with a piercing crash, or at least it seems so to me, and this once I pray that they didn't hear it or my boisterous breathing and blatant heart-beating. My stomach pummels back from my throat to its place when my hide-out falls into the darkness again. They left. They didn't notice me. I'm not the fainting type, I've never even blacked out before, but this once tiny specks of black appears in my vision and I have to wait until two other rounds of petrols pass by to be able to carry on.
From the moment I scrambled out of that dumpster I am much more careful, but, if it's even possible, I'm even more nervous and so it seems forever to get home. When eventually I step into the crumbling staircase, I let out a heavy sigh I didn't notice I held in, and lose my alarm. Now that I don't have to concentrate on more relevant things, I can feel that I stink to high heavens, but for once I don't care. I just want to be home. To be safe. With my mum.
While I'm climbing up two flights, I'm thinking about what I'm going to tell her. Because I won't tell her that I upset myself so much with contemplating how to free dad that I skipped classes and then fell asleep in a hut in the park for hella sure.
I just can't. Not like she would be mad at me or something, that's not her style, but I'm ashamed of myself for being so inept and also I don't want her to worry about my mental health especially now that I've made her worry about my physical.
But what else could I say? I rack my brain for answer, but still have nothing when I reach the next bend.
Nothing. I realize. There's nothing that could erase the past few hours of thinking that she's lost everybody who has left for her.
From the main entrance I have a straight sight to mum sitting by the kitchen table with the same posture she did yesterday, and in spite of the differences that this time she had her head in her hands instead of staring ahead and her shoulders are still shaking with silent sobs instead of having stopped for a while, a vertigo of deja vu makes my head sway. After a moment of hesitation I'm starting to falter toward her, and once again she does not notice me. She is too engrossed in her grief over me, the second relative of hers that she lost in...a short time.
The guilt swelling up in me is so big, it's like a whole new being is living in me with the purpose of crippling my body with it's tight grips squeezing out the air of my lungs, smashing my intestines together and at that very moment I just want to join mum, crying and crying until I cry out even the memories of what I've done to her. I have to stop for a second to force myself to take deep breathes in lieu of shallow ones and to repress the tears that already made my vision blurry. I can fall slack later. But not in front of mum. Get it together Dara. I ball my fists as strong as I can and press a little more as I carry on.
"Mum" I reach out to put my hand on her shoulder. "I'm so sorry I'm late. I..." My air cut off and I'm squeezed up all over again, but this time it's mum who steals my breath from me and I can't imagine a sweetest way to get suffocated. I melt into her arms and can't hold back the tears no matter how much I don't want mum to see them so we weep on each other until both of us' dresses are soaked to our skin.
"Where have you been?" Mum croaks into my ear not letting go of me. "I was so worried" she goes on and I'm both happy and desperate, because I can't speak and am glad that she does for me, but I know where this sentence goes and I doubt that I can hear those words. Yet, I know that even if I actually could, I wouldn't stop her, just to make myself suffer a little as she suffered because of me. Even though this short torture of words can't come any close to what she must have felt for long hours. "I thought I lost you." I braced myself for the words, but it doesn't ease the feeling I feel. That I'm like a window shattered into a million little shards, pouring out my eyes in forms of unstoppable tears, and my legs are like jelly threatening to give in in any second. If mum didn't hold on to me with an unrelenting, tight grip I would collapse onto the ground, but despite all the inches between me and her, she doesn't waver keeping me up on my feet. She was always so strong, so so strong inside and outside, as well, I've always admired and envied her for it. I've wanted to be as strong as her. If I were, I could stop my conniption fists and do something for dad.
I don't know how long we are standing there, but when we eventually break up, I only kiss her cheeks and she does the same, but neither of us say a word. I go into my room. I never tell her where I was. I never tell her what happened at school and how I ran away. I never tell her how weak I was. What a fool I was. That the pain, the grief she felt was because I couldn't hold it together. Because I sobbed myself into sleep.