Friday 8 December 2023
freedom issue
de Niemanders
gazette

The search for stories continues. This time in refugee asylums across the country.

story

Lotus can swim in the Water

by Mesude Feyza Dinçer

Day and night, life and death.

Every person used to look up at the sky as if there were no horizons. But then they would see the horizon, draw the line of their own infinity, and turn their backs to the sky. That’s what life meant for the little water lily. While many water lilies adorned the water’s surface, she felt uniquely cherished by a young child who had taken to visiting her regularly. Together, they would swim for a while, and then the child would bid a silent farewell, vanishing into the water’s depths. The water lily often pondered, “Humans cannot live underwater.”

The depths were infinite, the water lily couldn’t see what was at the bottom, and deaths at the bottom remained there. Souls didn’t rise from the depths, only unfortunate souls, people whose memories remained unfinished in the world, would strive to come up. The next morning, the water lily woke up early. The sun was blazing in the sky, ready to rise and scorch everything in the summer day. “My flowers will wither,” she thought briefly.

“Do you live here?” the child who came every day asked, rubbing his eyes with his clenched fist. The water lily jumped in her place.

“Yes.”

“I don’t live here.” The child spoke quickly.

“Why aren’t you with your family then?” the water lily asked, while swaying up and down in the calm waves. Her voice had also become as rough as a hook, tearing through her throat this time.

“I can’t get ashore, my legs don’t work,” the child said. The water lily could see the child standing strong in front of her.

“Scream for help,” the water lily said again. The child shook his head from side to side and said, “It’s impossible.”

“It’s okay; playing hide and seek is fun,” the child said, and the little water lily let her leaves touch the water, as if the water had passed through the child’s body.

“Even if you want it so much, can’t you turn back?” she asked.

“When my parents were talking on the shore, I heard them, and then I disappeared into the water. My mother said I couldn’t breathe, but even though I’ve been in the water for days, I can still breathe,” the child said, and the water lily felt her spirit being drawn away. Those special feelings she had started to vanish.

“People can’t breathe in water.” the water lily said, and the child shook his head in disagreement.

“But my friends can,” he turned around and looked at the bodies, big and small, floating here and there. The water lily understood at that moment that they were dead souls. The sun never touched them. They didn’t feel the cold or the heat. Without graves, they stayed in the shadows, and the shadows would chill them.

“How did you get lost?” the water lily asked the little child, who was laughing.

“The sun was high, and the boat with many people started sinking. People panicked and fell off the boat, and I couldn’t hold on to my mother and got lost in the water. I learned how to swim after falling into the water,” the child said.

“My mother shouted behind me, and when my lungs started to ache, I had to close my eyes, but my senses didn’t disappear. I just couldn’t respond to my mother. They made it to shore,” he continued. The water lily looked at the horizon again.

Some of them had no choice but to be left behind.

“She couldn’t sense that he died,” she thought to herself. How could one not feel death?

“Water is fun, but my parents haven’t come to pick me up yet. Sometimes I feel like I hear someone calling my name,” the child spoke. He spoke like a grown-up, but she didn’t think he was only six years old.

“I’m waiting, they’re waiting,” the child said, shouting. The little water lily couldn’t respond to the child; her mother and father were still asleep. When the spirits of the dead went away and all the noise disappeared, her father opened his eyes and looked at her. She approached her father and said, “Dad…”

“Today, I saw a group of dead people, none of them knew they were dead. They were just floating in the water, waiting for someone on the shore,” she said, and her father looked at little lily with sadness.

“Thousands of people lost their lives in this sea while escaping from the police for various reasons, my little child,” her father said. “Thousands of people left behind those who died, in agony. Some of them had no choice but to be left behind. The water took them away. Their souls are floating in this sea, unable to see their own bodies.” He said. Lily’s feathers stood on end, and the flowers on her face withered in pain.

“Isn’t anyone doing anything for the ones who died?”

“There’s nothing to be done. Sometimes life is worth less than most values. Suffering doesn’t end with death,” her father said. He looked at her still-sleeping mother. He felt sorry for the child; she was still waiting for her family.

Sometimes salvation brings your demise, child. I know many people set out with beautiful hopes.

Afterward, her father fell silent, and the little water lily asked no further questions. She raised her gaze to the horizon, where true freedom lay. Thousands, driven by desperation, risked their lives attempting the treacherous journey to Greece. Boats capsized, families vanished, and death loomed ever present. Yet, despite the grim odds, countless souls embarked on this perilous journey, not for pleasure but out of sheer necessity. Forced from their homelands, they endured untold hardships, seeking a chance at life, for basic human needs remained unmet.

Freedom was the ability to glimpse one’s horizon, yet for many, it remained obscured by the trials they endured. Their quest to find a better life continued, driven by the hope of a brighter tomorrow. To places where they can see their horizon.

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