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The sixth day started out the same. The unnatural silence was what

woke her – her mind being more aware of her surroundings than she

realized while in sleep. Azar underwent the same first few seconds of

no recollection, and of bliss, before remembrance dawned on her.

With it, the automatic fear – she jerked upright. Omid. Where was

Omid? Her eyes darted from side to side until, through the dim

surroundings, they zeroed in on Omid, nestled between their friend

Arash and another woman they didnot know. She sawOmidmumble

something in her sleep, and knew what it was all too well –



Azar allowed herself to relax. With the desired calm, however, came

fresh awareness of the omnipresent feelings of hunger and thirst.

Azar closed her eyes. This is why sleeping is the best part of the day.

Her eyelids shielding her from the other breathing masses in the

hull, Azar thought of her parents. They did not come with her and

Omid. They said goodbye to them at home in Nikshahr, where they

had organized for a man to take Azar and Omid to the coast. Azar

remembered Omid crying. Her sister was young enough to

understand the separation, but not yet old enough to understand

that they must listen to their parents without question. Azar was

suspicious of the man they were going with, Massoud. Azar’s mother

had turned to her.

“Trust him,


. Trust him as you trust me.”

Azar had no choice. She and Omid had gone inMassoud’s truck to

the coast. Their parents said they would meet them in Australia, and

said goodbye –Azar missed them somuch her chest ached. In the hull

of the boat, she raised a hand to her heart, and thought of her mother

and father. She remembered the conversation she overheard between

Massoud and her parents – she didn’t understand at the time, what he

meant by not drawing as much attention as Chãbahãr would have, but

when the truck reached the smaller town of Konãrak, she knew her

mother was right. Massoud was the only person they could trust. And

for Omid’s sake as well as her own, Azar must trust him to get them to

Australia safely. Nobody else was invested in their arrival. Nobody else

cared about the refugees.

It had taken them three days to reach Konãrak. After that, they

had to wait another four for their boat to be ready to leave. Massoud

told them they were lucky –

“Not many people on this one, more room.”

Then he told them the next part of their journey. Azar and Omid


Henrietta Gelber