Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Outside the meeting to cover the Dos and Don’ts of volunteering at the asylum seekers center, I feel an urge to dash away. I am always terrified at the thought of something new, an odd daily battle for someone who left her job to live in a foreign country.
The eight-year-old Chechnyan boy has a Mohawk mullet. We make eye contact before the meeting begins. He looks like my brother. I grin and he hides his face. He’s seated at the table along with three other children.
Another boy wears a New York Yankees cap. “Yankees?” I whisper, “You like baseball?”
He seems surprised: “No.”
As the director begins speaking, the Chechnyan boy rests his elbows and the table and clasps his hands like he is praying before a meal. He catches my attention again and giggles silently. He’s wearing a black button up shirt with a black four-button vest over it. He cups his hands in front of his mouth and keeps smiling, meeting my eyes, and hiding his grin. I should be listening to the rules, as I’m naturally rule-abiding–but as one who is naturally rule-abiding, I feel I’ll just know.
The boy blinks at me again and we both laugh at something no one else notices. I forget that I am supposed to be one of the grown ups. My mind is climbing to gratitude, and how my little brother also has such a spirit and impish grin, and how we had the same home and phone number for our whole lives. How we could stay in one place, and how this boy had to flee, and yet the smile was the same. How we are in ourselves something immovable and portable and resilient.