The day was Friday 6th, that was the day my life changed forever.
We had just finished dinner when the phone rang, my father answered it, the color drained from his face as he put the phone down. He looked at my mother and she got up, they both went into their bedroom. I heard hushed frantic murmurs and at one moment I thought I heard the words KGB, then crying, but I couldn't be sure. They returned 15 minutes later, both somber faced; my mothers eyes shining with new tears, my father grabbed my arm tightly, pulling me into my room, "Get in" he said, gesturing towards my mahogany wardrobe, "...and please my darling stay silent" I tried to speak, to ask what was happening and why this felt like goodbye, when I heard hammering on the door and shouting. "Please my baby, and take this" my mother said handing me a pale brown envelop, I took it, dazed. She hugged me hard before letting me go. Father helped me into the wardrobe, his eyes looking tortured. The crashing grew louder before I heard the sound of splintering wood. He embraced me then shut the door ; leaving me in darkness.
When all was silent I opened the door, clutching my envelope, my eyes adjusted to the light after the gloom, I couldn't make sense of the gory scene around me, the walls were splattered red, the smell of death hung in the air. My mother was slumped over my bed ; my father by the doorway blood leaking from his head. Dead. I couldn't breath but something was telling me I had to leave, to escape.
Gripping my envelope I stumbled to the door and down the stairs.I fell outside into the icy air, I tripped before pounding into a run. I ran and ran until my lungs screamed for me to stop. I slowed, a ache in my hand made me look down, I was holding the envelope so hard it was hurting my hand, with trembling hands I opened it, there was a brochure about a place called Oxford with a note, it read. " My Darling Valentina, If you are reading this, your father and I are no longer here, we wish you to go to Oxford university, London, England. Here you'll find brother Klaus, he will take care of you. We have given you a passport, visa, and have included money and a ticket to England. Finally, my wedding ring, now yours, please keep it safe and remember to always stand up for what you believe in. Your loving mother, We will always be with you in your heart."
I reached inside and put on the ring, it fitted perfectly. I took a deep breath and headed for the airport. I found my plane and glanced nervously at the security guards at the gate, I slumped down and fell in to an uneasy sleep. When I awoke, I heard a mechanical voice saying, "Welcome to London!" I went with the crowed into the terminal, I looked around and saw a symbol of a train with an arrow, I followed it. Before too long, I was sitting in a hot, stuffy carriage, I stared out the window; unseeing the rushing blackness.
The metro stopped at a busy station. The escalator carried me into a lively, bustling atmosphere. The hurried city centre was familiar to me, it was almost like being at home. I walked uncertainly, trying to not to look as lost as I felt. As I heard the unfamiliar language, I wished I could remember my English lessons. Just when I though I was going to cry, I heard a familiar voices I looked round, when I saw a young women carrying a basket of bread, calling back to a man. The language was Polish! "Dzien Dobry!" I called out, half walking, half running towards her. "Czesc!" she called back smiling. I followed her into the bakery. She touched my face and said " O.K?" I wondered why she looked so concerned until I looked up and saw my reflection in a mirror behind the counter, my hair was a mess, I had black circles under exhausted eyes and my clothes were crumpled. This act of kindness in a strange, new world, made my eyes burn with tears ; I swallowed the lump in my throat to explain in broken Polish what had happened. She seemed to understand and hugged me. She asked my name; I told her it was " Valentina Dmitriev". "Hungry?" she said. I declined, but pulled out the brochure of Oxford university and tried to say I wanted to go there, again she understood and said " I know this place" she began to draw a map on a piece of paper by the counter. She gave it to me and kissed both my cheeks before releasing me. Before I left, I wanted to know the person who helped me, she told me her name was Iwona.
I glanced at my map and strode confidently towards my destination. The station was vast and the noise was deafening. I bought my ticket with the last of my money and found my train. It raced along, my heart thumping in time with the train. The train screeched to a halt at the station. I found a m and scrabbled in my pockets for change, time seemed to slow as it rang, once, twice... then he picked up, "Hello?" he said. "Klaus? Is that you?" I asked, not daring to hope. " Vale? Yes. What a lovely surprise!" I interrupted, and asked if he could meet me on the station and I would explain everything when I saw him, before he answered, the phone cut out. I paced at the entrance, suddenly I saw his familiar blond hair and broad shoulders, I threw myself into his arms, crying. " Don't worry Vale, your safe now." he murmured hugging me. I looked into his dark brown eyes and for the first time since being in the wardrobe, I didn't feel alone.