Iqbal walked along the river in the fading evening light. He didn’t stand out as much, and he liked the quietness. The gum trees were in flower reminding him of the trees at home, but here they smelled sickly sweet– like drying blood.
Sometimes kids played on the banks, but their mothers – their voices pitched high with worry– called them when the sun disappeared behind the trees.
In this place called Brantley, the evenings stretched for hours. On Sundays, his mother and sisters went to church wearing the blue and red dresses donated to them by other members of the Sudanese community. There was nothing of the vibrant singing they were used to from the mud brick church in Sudan. Instead of drums, a piano corralled their voices into a staid pattern.
The church people were good people. They took the hands of Iqbal’s mother and held them. When she began to make friends, Iqbal asked if she minded him going for walks.
As long as he was back before she came home, she said, he could walk as far as he liked. “Two hours only,” she added.