Snowcase #8 • 14 August 2007 • The SnowBlog
This next author is a psychologist and writer. This extract, from the first chapter of his second novel, was inspired by his work with asylum seekers. The novel is called All Our Yesterdays.
Joseph, an ex boy soldier and 'A' level student hopes for refugee status in the UK. Natalie, a fellow student, inadvertently sabotages his plans. All Our Yesterdays
I have many ways of keeping The Stolen Years at bay - during the hours of daylight that is.
Pacing around the bright corridors, like this, at lunchtimes, towering over most of the other students, keeping faces, with their curious eyes, a blur is one I have come to rely on: for driving The Stolen Years from my thoughts. Always aware they're lurking, just out of sight, in the gloomy, convoluted passages of my brain, ready to spring out at any moment; like in some violent computer role play game that wouldn't even qualify for an 18 rating.
Lately I've taken to calling them SY, sometimes Sci - as in Sci-fi - or even sigh, depending how I feel.
I quite often talk to myself like this: as if I am giving a running commentary on my life. It's is a sort of letter I'm dictating to someone like Brother Francis - a letter I haven't written and never will.
On the whole, it seems to be a good 'coping strategy' (as one of the shrinks I have had to see puts it), unlike drinking forty cups of coffee a day to keep myself awake at night and cat napping, when I dare, during the day. The shrink? You didn't tell me about that one did you Brother Francis? That, to stand any chance of being allowed to stay in this colourless country, you're expected to dredge it all up with a virtual stranger.
But I couldn't possibly pass the horrors I have been part of onto another human being. See the lights go out in another pair of eyes soft with compassion before they sweep from me only to come back like searchlights glinting with fear and suspicion. No, they can't all be full of Christ-like mercy, like you Brother Francis. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison. It does still help.
Coming in my direction, now, jostling and vying like puppies, a group of white boys is taking up most of the width of the corridor. New - probably NVQ - students, I think, and alter my course to avoid them. The double doors to Beauty Therapy swing open and two mixed-race girls step out, chatting. The boys slow down, starting to crane their necks, their eyes practically out on stalks now and the girls, who have stopped in the entrance, are staring back, blanking them.
Same game the world over. Miremba appears in my mind, like a piece of old film footage, her precocious, pretend disdain giving way to a knowing smile before she fades back into sparking blackness.
The girls from Beauty Therapy are stretching their painted eyelids and looking down their lovely noses at the retreating boys and then, intrigue and dissin' sparkling between their spidery lashes, they notice me. Jade-rimmed, attention grabbing eyes - setting off their white coffee complexions to perfection - widen and then melt. I flick my eyes away, down to my black trainers, finding I am rooted to the spot.
Author: Edward Lennon