Our Salvation

Exhale

Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright. 

It started like any other day.  The 5 of us with our mum, obtaining food and drink as required, maintaining simple grooming practices.  Our dad had run out on us.  I think the idea of being responsible for 5 additional mouths to feed had freaked him out.  I never really knew if that was what happened or if it was something more sinister, like he was killed trying to return to us with treats to celebrate our family.

I got used to being poked and prodded.  I was often picked up and held.  It seemed that I was rewarded if I made the right noises.  I think it was certain noises that resulted in extra contact from those around us. Although, I much preferred to be snuggled up with the others and mum. It felt safe and comfortable.  I was always scared that I might not be put back after being snuggled.

On this day, the 5 of us were abruptly taken from our nest with mum.  We were put into a box with some smelly fabric.  I could hear mum calling for us but we could not reach her.  The box was placed on a surface that moved and we were jostled around.  It was terrifying.  When the movement stopped, the box was lifted and a face peered in.  A tear dropped onto me and then the box was closed and we were placed on a hard surface.

For a while the 5 of us simply waited.  Not sure what for or why but it seemed to be the right thing to do.  Our decision making processes were not that great and we didn’t have mum to defer to.  I actually missed dad all of a sudden.  I missed anyone that was older than any of us, who might be able to translate what had happened this morning and what we should do now.

Over time, 3 of us made a hole in the box and moved out.  I never saw where they went and I will never know if they are safe.  This will be something that affects me for the rest of my life.  So many losses in a single morning.  I was left with my youngest brother and he was set on following the others.  I threw myself at the hole and blocked him.

I pleaded with him to stay with me.  I just could not take anything else going wrong.  My whole world was disintegrating and all I had left that was familiar was my brother.  I was not losing him too.  I knew I was smarter than him so he would just have to suck it up and stay with me.  I never told him how much it meant to me that he let me stop him leaving.

Time passed slowly.  We were thirsty, hungry and so scared.  There was a lot of noise outside the hole but I lay in front of it, blocking it so we would not be tempted to leave what had become the only safe place in a world that was incomprehensible to us.  It was hot and stuffy, even though we stretched out as much as we could.

Suddenly the lid was opened and a face peered in.  I didn’t recognise it and we both scrambled to cram ourselves into the furthermost corner.  The box was lifted and we were moving.  Suddenly we were put down and so many faces peered in, we were terrified.  This was the end, those faces marked our doom.  We would be separated. I would have nothing left that was mine.  I had no control, no choices.

I lost hope.  It had drained away with the loss of our mum and my 3 siblings.  All the ‘unfamiliar’ spoke to me of an ending and not a good one. Suddenly, hands reached in and lifted us both out from the sweat and urine stained fabric to cuddle us against their chest.  They ignored how we smelt and our condition.  We could feel a heart beat and each other.

In that moment, despite words like ‘temporary’ and inclusion in an already full household, I knew that it was going to be alright.  I was going to be alright and so was my brother.  We were together and we felt loved again.

Writers note:

This is the story of B1 and B2 from the perspective of B2.  B2’s role is fashioned from knowing her and B1’s personalities. They were found abandoned on the side of the road in a cardboard box.  Way undernourished and terrified, we only meant to keep them until we found a home that would take in both of them.  No one wanted both so we kept them and the temporary names stuck.  B1 is also called Oney, and B2 is nicknamed Twosome.  A year on, if either of them cry the other will go and bring them inside.  They remain devoted to each other.

074

B1 – male

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B2 – female

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