I press my fingers into my ears and look through the hole. I see nothing. There is nothing to distract me. I can’t escape. Not this time.
The voices get louder and louder and I don’t know what to do. I press my face harder against the hole in the wall, praying for someone to walk into my line of sight. For months it has been my salvation.
The only way to escape my hell.
The hole looks into the flat next door. It’s been abandoned for years, but it’s been discovered by a group of scraggy youths. Four guys and three girls. The one that I see the most is the dark-haired man – I’ve named him Pyotr. Sometimes he gets angry and kicks the wall. Sometimes he just lies there alone and smokes. Sometimes the pretty girl is with him. I think she loves him. I’ve named her Leyla. She cries a lot. I dream that one day I will go inside and help her. She will look at me with her beautiful eyes and she’ll love me. I’ll be her hero.
When they’re all there Pyotr laughs and drinks and tells jokes. They all love him. I wish I was Pyotr. I hate him so much.
But they’re not there now.
I hear my Baba’s voice getting louder, high-pitched. She’s upset.
I bet Pyotr’s Baba doesn’t cry.
I want so badly to escape through that hole. To drink and smoke and make Leyla laugh. She has such a pretty laugh.
“Uri! The lady is here to see you. Come and speak to her”
I ignore Baba and curl up against the wall. There is nothing to see so I close my eyes.
“Uri, don’t keep the lady waiting. Show her what a good boy you are”
Pyotr isn’t a good boy. Pyotr wouldn’t have to talk to the lady. I can hear Baba telling her that I’m not feeling well; that it takes time to adjust.
It’s dark now. I don’t know how long I’ve been curled up here, but I heard the lady leave. I feel Baba sit on the bed. I don’t open my eyes. I don’t acknowledge she’s there.
“Why won’t you speak to the lady Uri? She will take you away from me if you don’t speak to her”
I don’t care.
“I know you’re scared and just want to forget, but we can’t help you if you won’t speak to us”
She doesn’t understand. She thinks I’m afraid of my father. I’m not afraid. I’m not weak like them. I’m strong like my father. They think I need protection. They think my father is bad. No-one understands.
I hate them.
I hear the door slam next door. Is it Pyotr? Leyla? I try not to react while I will Baba to leave. I hear scuffles and voices. My heart is racing fast. Why won’t she just go?
“I love you Uri”
I hold my breath to try and calm myself. I can barely lay still any longer. Finally, I feel the bed spring up as Baba lifts her weight off it. Her steps are achingly slow towards the door. I feel her watching me from the doorway for a moment before I hear the click of the door.
I fly to the hole and place my eye against it…