In the grey light of morning, she sat on the edge of her son’s bed, readying to wake him. But he was too precious to wake just yet, still clutching the stuffed dinosaur she’d tucked into his arms the night before, his thick eyelashes lying like black fans against his rosy cheeks. His peaceful face was a beautiful respite from the depressing morning news about war and terrorism and refugees. The pundits had been debating about whether or not to let the refugees in. The thought that a terrorist might sneak in with them sent a shiver of fear down her spine. She prayed they would keep the borders closed.
In the grey light of morning, she crouched in the corner over her child’s sleeping body, readying to wake him. But he was too precious to wake just yet, still clutching the scrap of fabric she’d pilfered from some trash heap and knotted into a semblance of a doll. His thick eyelashes lay like black fans against his brown cheeks, his peaceful face a beautiful respite from the hellish reality of war and destruction all around them. But it was time to get moving; they couldn’t stay here. She prayed that someone would take them in.
As she drove through a broken down part of downtown, she passed an emaciated homeless man pushing a shopping cart full of tin cans, and she remembered, I need to donate another few bags of canned goods to the shelter this week. She thought again of the refugees, how much worse the homeless problem would be if we were to take them all in, how impossible it would be to keep up with that burden. She prayed they would keep the borders closed.
As they trekked through their ruined city, she thought, We are all homeless now. There is no life left here. She prayed that someone would take them in.
In the afternoon when she picked her son up from school, he remarked that they had a new student in class. That makes 30, she thought, and though she pretended to be happy that her son had made a new friend, she privately worried about overcrowding of schools. She thought of the refugees again, what a huge encumbrance it would be to carve out a place for all those children in a school system already stretched past capacity. She prayed they would keep the borders closed.
In the afternoon, her son pulled a book from a pile of rubble. He beamed and held it up for her, and she smiled at his innocent joy. Imagine the luck of that, finding an intact book in this mess. Maybe her son would even get to attend school again one day, if they were really lucky. She prayed that someone would take them in.
In the evening, she opened the mail. There was a statement for her 401K. The account was still growing, so that was good, but much slower than before. She thought again of the refugee situation, how, if we were to accept all those people, they would undoubtedly put further stress on the economy, and everyone’s investments and retirement could be in jeopardy. She prayed they would keep the borders closed.
In the evening, the explosions began again, and they had to run. For one insane moment, her mind went to the money her husband had stashed away in a savings account, how diligent they had been all those years about tucking away a bit here and a bit there. How it was all gone now. How, at this moment, if she could get her hands on that money, she would give all of it, every last penny, to pay for a helicopter to fly her family out of this nightmare. The ground shook again, and as she clutched her son’s body to hers while she ran, she prayed that someone would take them in.
That night, as she tucked her son into bed, her mind turned again to the refugees. She did feel sorry for their plight—her chest ached for them, in fact. She knew there were mothers out there, mothers like her, desperate to save their children’s lives and give them hope for a future. But what if we let those thousands of innocents in and a terrorist slipped through? What if that terrorist attacked us? Our people? No, she thought, we need to protect our own. She prayed they would keep the borders closed.
That night, after the explosions stopped, they settled into a different building, one that was at least less crumbling than the one they had been in this morning. As she tucked her son in with his makeshift rag doll, she thought of the terrorists who had destroyed her home, her city, her country. She hated them. They had put her in a position where she must beg and hope and pray for someone to give her family the most basic requirement of human existence: a place to be.
And she prayed that someone would take them in.
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