That night, in my dreams I heard my father’s roaring, the silent night was suddenly replaced with the sounds of Kalashnikovs and my father screaming “keep down”
That was the beginning of the end. One of the many ends I would experience throughout my life.
There was silence in the car but I seem to remember the sound of my mother’s tears silently rolling down her face.
I cannot remember if I was petrified, if I was confused, if I was living a weird dream. Something was not real and all I knew is that I had to be absolute quiet and still.
I don’t know how long it took for us to arrive at a safe place. I know that when we arrived we were told to stay in the car. I don’t know if both my father and mother went out of the car to do I don’t know what.
I know my father did.
The story goes that the first thing my parents did was to rush to check if my eldest sister was dead or alive – I do not remember that.
I was 6 then.
The only memories I have of that moment when we stopped safe, was leaning out of the window happily and excitedly and ignorantly greeting the soldiers and the next moment I ran out of the car when I heard my father stating that the only damage was my travelling bag that had been totally disintegrated with the shooting.
I remember nothing about that bag, except Ana was there, now disintegrated and never to be seen or heard again. In there also, the only gift I have ever received from this unknown, distant and silent grandmother that lived in a land faraway, a land of snow and which I knew my parents came from.
I looked at the disintegrated red cardigan, which I had never used, and somehow that moment I knew I was never to have any links with my grandparents. I also knew that it had been my luggage disintegrating, nor anyone else’s. Mine.
What could possibly go through a six year old mind? The untouched, unspoilt wisdom of the eternal subconscious, the human memory bank.
Ana was no longer. I am not sure if she has ceased to walk with me or if in that moment I grew out of her, or if she still walks with me but I can no longer feel her or hear her.
Sometimes I feel my sense of solitude and non-belonging is caused by Ana’s disappearance.
Not very long after this, I remember being with my mother and my eldest sister in my mother’s old Nissan and the two talked about my sister’s upcoming exile into a re-education camp and how all would have to happen very fast to evacuate us out of the country and into the safety of that distant family that lived in a fairyland of snow