SOMEONE IS HAMMERING on the door with hard knuckles. Or maybe a fist. The back door slams and I hear footsteps hitting the gravel fast. I sit up quickly in my bed to look out the window and catch the back of my father as he disappears into the vacant block behind our house.
The hammering on the door becomes louder. Two policemen enter the house. They grill me as they search my father’s bedroom. Once again I am left to lie for my father. I look the police in the eyes and tell them with steely calm that my father has gone on a holiday and I don’t know when he will be back. They are rummaging through his underwear drawer. “What’s his name?” one of them barks at me. My mind goes blank. I panic and feel the blood pump loudly in my ears. I have been coached by my father to recite his various aliases. I look away and mumble a name, hoping like mad I have chosen the right one. I hold my breath while I wait for their response. They say nothing to me, leaving the door open as they leave. My hands are shaking. I realise that my father will not be going to jail, and I will not be left alone, 15,000 kilometres from my mother. Not this time.
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