Strange crowds

She grips her knees, hides her head, and hates being where she is.  Life was not meant to turn out like this,  She was not meant to be here, alone in a foreign place, waiting for a husband whose work carried them away from home.  Work that comes and goes, making them wonder why they ever came.  She cannot speak this language.  She can’t even ask how to learn it.  It’s a relief that school is over for the summer – all those days of standing on the edges at the gates, keeping her head down, praying that nobody comes too close.  They must think she doesn’t care, that she is ignorant.  All she could do is show her humanity through the hugs and smiles she gave to her little girl.  Now, after a year, she realises there was nothing to fear – nobody was interested in her.  She was different.  They had no room for different.

The noises outside are even more alien to her tonight.  Shouts she doesn’t understand, strange behaviours, disturbing sights.  They’re all walking in the one direction, past her flat.  She closes the windows to the noise, and looks out.  The bonfire towers above the street, flames building momentum, people looking more excited, more drunk.  There’s a flag on the top, but she doesn’t recognise it.  She finds herself grieving over it, grieving over her own flag, as the flames engulf it.  The fire grows; she is lost within it . They will never see her, she knows that now.  This foreign culture, these strange crowds, are smoking her out.

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