I felt guilty. I should have stayed with Dad. That could have been the last day I ever saw him. Poor Mum. Not only has she had to say goodbye to him, but Adar was sick after being shot in the leg.
“Fatima” she would say, “Could you look after your darling brother?”
Of course I would say, “Yes” and rock him to sleep.
Our boat was small and orange. It was crammed with people, big and small, young and old.
“I hate it here.” Adar kept saying.
I could just remember the last thing Dad said to me. “ Be a good girl for Mum. Be brave. Be kind.”
I followed those words and it worked! I made a friend called Nada aged 9 like me! We played lifeguards when we pretended that one of us was drowning and the other one had to save them. That paid off because today some one did go overboard. This was how it happened …
A little boy named Abdul was throwing pebbles into the sea when his hat fell off. He tried reaching for it, but he couldn’t. He thought he would be able to swim, so he jumped in and got the hat. Unfortunately, the sea was very cold and Abdul was too cold to swim back to the boat. I remembered Dad’s words: “Be brave.”
I decided to jump in after him. I was quite a good swimmer so I asked him to climb onto my back. He did. We managed to swim back to the boat together. Everyone was cheering and patting me on the back. I felt proud. I gave Abdul a drink of warm water and a shrivelled apple.
“Yuck! This is horrible,” he said.
But he ate it anyway.