OK, thank you for the replies to the first part. This is the end. Enjoy.
Somewhere Else Continued.
20th July 1974
I was out in the square, about to get some groceries, when I heard it. The first gun shot. It was right by the shore, only a mile from us, not even that. Suddenly everything turned upside down. Everyone was running and someone had grabbed me by the waist. Michael.
“Eva, you have to get out of here. The Turks have come. They have started to fight. You have to take your Mama and go!” My mouth gaped at his words.
“What?” He placed me back on the cobbled street and urged me towards my house.
I felt flustered, I had no idea what to say.
“Go, Eva! Now!”
The echoes of yet more gun shots, this time closer, filled the air, along with screams. Michael seized a young child we knew and took my hand quickly.
“Eva, I love you.” And with that he was racing down the hill, child under his arm, shouting as he went.
I managed to unfreeze and dropping my basket, fled for home.
By the time I got home I was panting and struggling to stand. Mama pulled me into the house and thrust a suitcase at me.
“Take what you need, we are leaving. Papa was right. Oh God!” She crossed herself and ran into the kitchen, gathering a few items.
I packed hurriedly, wrapping my seashells up and placing them gently into my case. What was happening? I fought back tears. Why had Michael chosen now to tell me? Where we ever to see each other again?
I heard the front door slam and I dragged my suitcase downstairs.
Papa and Mama were both checking some documents. Gun shots vibrated through the air, right outside. I could hear a woman screaming for her child.
“Eva we are leaving,” Papa informed me, picking up my small suitcase easily. “There is a boat waiting to take us to England. All we have to do is get there safely and without being seen.”
“What about Stelios?” I asked hysterically.
“He wants to stay. To fight.” Papa was not happy about this choice and Mama burst into tears. We were leaving behind everything.
“England?” I asked incredulously. Papa nodded and shuffled us all out of the back door.
* * *
22nd July 1974
Two days passed. I was sharing a bed with Mama below deck, there were only a few and they had to accommodate the nine families that were on board. But I never slept. I spent the nights awake, wondering what was happening back on land. Were Stelios and Michael still alive? Had our house been looted?
I remember the moment we reached the boat clearly. I desperately searched the crowds of terrified people for Michael and his family; but to no avail. Everything was fast and scary, no one would answer my questions and the few soldiers around had their guns drawn, ready for any action.
Two days of agony. Two days of fearing everything. Of fearing an attack from an enemy boat, what we had left behind and mostly what was ahead.
25th July 1974
The apartment was dark and dingy. Years of grime was embedded into the walls and covered every surface. Mama spent the whole first day scrubbing it thoroughly, making it slightly more live-able.
I just gazed out the window, comparing the grey and busy streets of London to the sandy beaches of Cyprus. The eternal sunshine to the unstoppable rain. But at least we were safe. There was nothing much to fear. We had a home, be it horrible and on a packed main road in the heart of London. We had each other. We had been welcomed by a Greek couple who moved to England a few years prior to us and they kept us updated with what was happening in Cyprus.
Then the list of the dead came out. Mama and Papa scanned the list, praying that our fears were not true. They weren’t. Stelios was not on the list. Neither was Michael, to my relief.
We later found out that our home was seized and given to a Turkish family. If we had stayed we would have been forced out and Papa would have been taken prisoner.
I still have nightmares where we are being forced out, onto the street, threatened. Thankfully I wake up and realize that I’m safe. That we are away from persecution. That I have new friends, a new life, a new home.
Then, I take out my shells and remember a place far from where we now are. The cobbled streets of Kyrenia and the children out playing on them. I remember the good times.
I remember his voice, his eyes, and his laugh. I will miss him. My Michael, my one true love, who I may never see again.