Sunday, December 9, 2007

December free choice prompt: April 002 Exile/ Artistic License

002. "I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope." --Aeschylus

I didn't ask to end up in the camp, I didn't have any choice in the matter.  When Vukovar fell to the Serbs it was chaos, soldiers were everywhere, they were within minutes of over-running the hospital as a lucky few of us made our escape.  I didn't see myself as lucky then, I was deserting my patients, running away from those who chose to stay with them. I think for a long time I even saw myself as a coward.  After all, I survived when those who stayed didn't.

I was wounded during my escape and after several days on the run, exhaustion and blood loss caught up with me, I was ready to give up, I was ready to join my family. I was found by some aid workers in a ditch not far from the road, they were the ones who took me to the camp.

In the beginning I didn't want to live, I'd had enough. I'd managed to keep going after losing my family, now I had lost everything else, what was the point? I spent almost two weeks under medical care before being moved into the general population, but, even then I hadn't yet accepted my fate.  I clung onto my guilt as if it were a lifeline that could somehow lead me back to the life I had lost, while those around me were looking with hope toward the future they saw beyond the tented compound. It would take me a long time to get where they were, a very long time.

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