The red slide.

The autumn sky is grey. Dark, menacing clouds roll in and cover the yellow container homes in which families from distant countries wait patiently. The playground is deserted. The swings squeak in the wind as if they are screaming for children. The red slide sits in the sand, waiting to be touched by muddy hands. But they’ll wait infinitely as the children in this place don’t get their hands muddy anymore. The children in this place sit quietly and wait.

I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the sense of despair that ran through the air. A heavy breeze of hopelessness overtook me and held me in a brutal grip. For dozens of kids this was day-to-day reality. The grey sky, the yellow container homes, the deserted playground: it all added to the anger that was slowly building up inside of me. Muddy hands had been pulled apart; one pair forced to flee the country, the other pair unwillingly left behind, wondering where his playmate had gone.

Bustling cities, rugged mountains, exotic beaches: they all had to let go of one of their friends. The yellow containers could never replace their real homes. The grey autumn sky would never be the same as the sky under which their homeland breathed heavily. The night had changed; the stars would never be as comforting. Darkness would never be without fear.

Eyes, wide open, follow the thick autumn raindrops as they hit the red slide. Thoughts of muddy hands, muddy hands that once held each other. Their friends, left behind, whilst eyes stare out of yellow homes, waiting patiently for the raindrops to fall. One day those muddy hands will escape the dark, menacing clouds. One day those muddy hands will once again touch the red slide, sitting in the exotic sand of their own beloved country.

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