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I told you, sonny ...

Today we are sitting around the table just like we did then, seven years ago. Nothing has changed since that: the plaster still falls down, the floor damaged in some places and the refrigerator is empty (as our stomachs are). The only difference is that mom-s hands are ten times coarser, her face – wrinkled and eyes – full of grief. Perhaps on Ana’s and my faces could be clearly seen the hardships we had to suffer for all these years. . .

And then, seven years ago, we hoped that things would go better. It was reasonable to think so. So many people left for this large country without anything and in few months they made their families rich and why could not we do so? Being in great need, we thought that very soon we should have enough food and cloths.

And we were so lucky ... Others had to spend thousands of dollars and that kind man promised father that he would do this for some nine hundred dollars. Of course, he could not have the first-class places in the airplane and for couple of days he had to walk across the forest, but this was not a problem ... This would not be too hard for a man who grew up in the village, he would do anything to support his family.

He met this man by chance, maybe this was his fate... In that terrible years, father, who had his two university diplomas, put them into the family’s trunk, took our old “Zhiguli” and began to work as a taxi driver. Who had money for taxi at those times... He did his best, applied to everyone he could, but in vein .. There were too many promises and too little help. Later, gradually, many people found their places but nothing changed in our lives, only all of us became very strained. And just then father met that man. He was coming back home, after all-day taxi driving. He did not earn too much. It was about eleven, when someone stopped him and asked to take him to Saburtalo.There was a long way and after talking about some general things they talked about their problems. When that man knew father’s problem, he immediately offered his assistance.

... You are an educated person, its pity that you can not support your family and you know it much better than I do. I have helped many people and they bless me now. You will not need much. Sell you car and you will get money for travel. You will never have enough money to work there legally, but the main thing is to get there, find your place and no one will think whether you are legally working or not. In two months you will earn more than you can earn for two years here. Sinner we deal with this, better the things will go for you and for me. Let’s meet in few days. Take the passport and half of the money with you. You will be the remained money later. Perhaps in one week you will leave. There will be two men and three women except for you and three persons – the guides. You will work as a stableman there. You will have not much to do. You will feed the horses and clean the stable, that’s all. Do you love the horses?

Of course, father loved the horses. He had spent all his childhood in the saddle. He could not even believe that he was so lucky. He had to do the work he liked in the country, which remained the dream for many people for all their lives... They agreed to meet in some restaurant (father asked him very much to come to our home, but he said that he did not want to bother the family). Finally, they said good-bye to each other and father hurried home to bring this good news to us. We were delighted just like him. Granny was concerned ... where are you going, sonny, I don’t want anything if you will be with me/ You don’t know that man properly and how can you trust him. You don’t even know the exact address where you are going...

We laughed at her. You don’t understand, granny, you grew up in a remote village. What is the difference where will he live, the main thing is hat he will work and in addition, he will not stay there for long. He will gain money and be back in few months.

At that time we were so glad that we did not pay attention even to the granny’s sighs. We sold the car soon, though for low price, but we needed to get money in time. Father was so anxious that he left his passport at home when he was hurrying to that restaurant to meet with that man. He called me from the street phone: Givi, I have left the document on the table and please, bring it to me. I hurried to him and the first thing I noticed when entered into the restaurant, was the terrible birthmark on the face of the man, covering almost half of his forehead. I did not like him so much that gave the folder to my father and immediately went away. I hear how the man with the birthmark told my father that they had to be very careful and there was no necessity for me to come to that restaurant.

We did not wait for long. In one week they intended to leave. The only demand of the man with the birthmark was that no one of father’s relatives would see him off to the airport, as they intended to leave secretly...

On that day, seven years ago we were sitting around the table just like we do now. We blessed father and wished him to have a safe trip. He embraced us and told: you will see, I’ll be soon back, don’t worry, everything will be all right and before I come back, I shall send you, Anushki, a big Barbie doll. Then he caressed each of us and went away...

He went away and since that Ana was waiting for her Barbie for so long time and mother was waiting for the letter. Several months passed but no one has contacted us. We started to search for that man with the birthmark, but no one lived at the address which told us father. We did our best to find that man, but in vein. Everyone told us that supposedly father became the victim of human trafficking, that they could not help us and that we had to be more careful and think about the outcomes.

Six years passed. We did not know, father was alive or not and whether we should have any hopes. Mother worked hard to earn some money, granny attempted to help, but what could she do? Loss of her son made her depressed. Did I grow up my handsome son for sale? – She used to tell us, her grandchildren. And still we knew nothing about father.
We hoped no more, when once I switched TV on and ... ... The famous swindler, engaged in slave-trade in the twenty first century was arrested ... said the announcer. I looked at that man and immediately I noticed the large birthmark on his forehead. It’s him! – I rushed to the kitchen – it’s the man who has taken dad! We applied to police immediately. Investigation and search took one more year and finally ... Finally our father was deported.

... And now we are sitting around the table, just like we did seven years ago and look at this exhausted, ill man, who has only the eyes of our dad. it is hard to believe that the strong young man could change in such way. Ana looks at him and at his picture on the piano and can understand nothing. And on father’s face one can see everything – how he missed us, ho he was tortured and humiliated for all these years.

Everyone is silent, only granny cries faintly: “I told you, that you should not trust the strangers, I told you, sonny ...

Source: Magazine “Sarke”, 2-8 April 2008



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