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Chapter II- Morning in Waste land
 
 They entered a small room lit by a lantern. The house consisted of three rooms - one was a mixture of living room and kitchen; with a tattered couch, a table with three dilapidated chairs, two kitchen elements, a bucket full of water and a basin that should replace the sink and tap, the room seemed very modest. The second room had a bed, an old closet, a chest and a rug made of old rags, slightly larger than the other three rooms. The windows were covered with something that looked more like a sheet than a curtain, and the whole house was heated by a stove that was in the third room. Despite the fact that there was not much furniture, there were a lot of old things around the house, many of which would no longer be in use in most households.
 
 Emil: "Welcome to my palace ... It's not something special, but I guess you'll survive one night. I've always lived like this and I haven't died yet, I hope you won't either. (laughter)" Asya (looks around sadly):" Don't worry, it's okay ... It's so dark - can you turn on the light, please? " Emil (looks at her): "There is no electricity here. There is no electricity in this settlement, there is no water... Here, (he leads her to the bed in another room) sleep here, I'm going to the couch. Do you want a suit? "Asya (looks at her dirty and grass-covered clothes):" You've already given me accommodation, a bed ... I can't ask for that either. This will be fine. " Emil (goes to the dresser and takes out blouse and skirt): “Put this on if it suits you. It belonged to my sister so it stayed in the closet, if it suits you can even take it. Goodnight. (comes out and closes the door) "Asya (louder): "Good night. "
 
In the morning, Asya woke up and went to the first room where Emil had already set breakfast, modest but enough to start the day. Emil (seeing her): "If I had known that I would have guests I would have gotten something better, this way I have this stale bread, jam and a piece of cheese that I have left from yesterday." Asya: "I don't mind, this is a lot more than I should be asking for. Thank you." Emil: "Why do you constantly apologize and thank me, I'm not a king so that I have such treatment." Asya: "Do they only thank kings? I believe that all people are equally important, it would be nice if everyone treated each other with respect." Emil: "Eh ... it doesn't go that way in life. You see, in this settlement we are less respected than animals, no one visits us, no one even knows that we exist. They remember, for example, when they can take something from us, but never to help. God forbid that we could also have a more normal life ... Or, better said, that we have a life on the first place, because this is not life but survival. " Asya: "Why is it like that?"  Emil: "Some call it destiny, some don't even care ... There are different kinds of people here, with different nationalities, skin colors, opinions. We all have poverty in common, rarely does anyone move from this point. There were maybe two or three who succeeded in something, gentlemen are ashamed of their origin and never reappeared, let alone changed anything. I don't blame them. No one would come here again consciously. "
 
 Asya (looks at the pictures on the wall): "Is this your family?" Emil: "It was." Asya: "Where are all these people, how come you're here alone? (lowers his head) I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't question that." Emil (approaches the picture): "These are grandparents, they died of old age. Mother and father too, although they were sick of something, the hell would know what it was about. Anyway, they both left in a short period of time, it was about a years ago. This was my older brother- he was the head of the family and he raised the family after my father's death. He worked illegally with one a bricklayer, but he had an accident when he was injured by a tool. He survived, but in time his wound became infected, we could not go to the hospital and he suffered from blood poisoning. " Asya (eyes full of tears): "So why didn't you take him, maybe he would be alive now?!" Emil: "It's like this here ... Nobody has health care and nobody has money for doctors. We are left to an alternative medicine and destiny, so what happens- it happens." Asya (wiping away tears): "And this boy?" Emil: "My younger brother. He was sick from birth, he was very weak. He was gone last year, a month before that he couldn't get out of bed or to eat, I cared for him every day and tried to get him out- nothing. "
 
 Asya noticed that a girl was also in the picture, with a very beautiful face and thick black hair. Her picture was also in the corner of that picture, she captivated with her beauty. She guessed it could be Emil's sister.
 
 Emil: "You're looking at her ... Yes, that's my sister. I'm most sorry that she is gone as well." Asya: "Is she dead too? Oh, that's awful!" Emil: "I am more indignant because of the way everything happened. I don't know if I can talk about it now, it's hard for me." Asya (puts her hand on his shoulder): "Don't, if it's harder than what you told me, then you better not open that wound, there's no need." Emil: "Well, now it's your turn - why did you run away yesterday?" From who? "Asya (gulped): "Um ... My parents wanted to force me to marry a much older man, so I left. " Emil: "Don't you think they'll start looking for you?" Asya: "No, they drove me away." Emil: "You say you left them, not that they drove you away ..." Asya: "Um, yes. My father drove me away, so I ran away because he threatened to kill me if I showed up again... That's the story. " Emil: "Okay ... So where are you going? Do you have a destination?" Asya (thinks):" You say that rarely anyone comes here?" Emil: "Yes, very rarely." Asya: "Is there any chance that I can stay in this settlement?" Emil (laughs): "You must be crazy! As far as I'm concerned you can even live here, I don't mind, but why would you want to stay in this rabbit hole? You're young, you can do more in life than this." Asya: "Don't worry about it, so I can stay? " Emil: "Stay, I'm not forbiding you. You know, the living conditions here are difficult, don't let it be that I didn't tell you." Asya: "I'll get used to it, don't worry. (Slight smile) If so many people can live like this for years, I'll manage it somehow as well. (to herself) Here it's the safest place not to be found, their snobbish feet will never set foot in a place like this. I'm safe here."


Submitted: November 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Suzana Ristić Suza. All rights reserved.

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