The Immigrant

Timoleon Komnitsas

He was all right now. His brother was next to him, Nigeria was too far away and the hunger in his god-forgotten village was a distant story. Now he was in European ground, where people are free to enjoy their lives, a job can be found and daily bread is not a dream.

He was 23, his girlfriend back at home begged him not to leave but he was determined and promised her to be back in a couple of years with enough money to start a household with her. The salt from her tears was still on his neck as he was admiring Acropolis, the elegant 2500 year-old- building in his new environment. If they can preserve things like this he thought, they could find a way to help a young strong man to make a living using his hands and his will.

The happiness of the first days, as he was lucky enough to land in Europe and not get drawn in the middle of the sea like many of his compatriots, was diminished by the fact he wasn't able to find a regular job, and had to beg outside the metro station for a couple of weeks.

Then a friend of his brother invited them in the drug-selling market, which seemed promising until police made its dreadful appearance, and finally he and his brother got arrested and sent to the immigrants’ office for further examination.

The bulliness and offensive behavior of the policemen, most of them as young as he was, wasn’t as bad as the feeling he was like an insect in a spider's web; not knowing the language to understand why he was getting abused like this; frightened and lonesome since his brother had moved somewhere else.

Finally he found himself among a hundred more like him, thrown in a deep ditch which was separating the police department from the busy main street, and he couldn't help himself from remembering the ditch where he worked back home and kept looking up to the faraway sky just hoping for a change in his life.

Somehow he found the strength to climb up the ditch, search for an alternative, for an escape.
He ran till his lungs were swollen, with cold sweat all over him, till finally he made a mistake, took the wrong way and found himself falling in a deeper and until then invisible ditch. In the few seconds before crashing in the stony grave of his miserable existence, he saw as a flash his girlfriend's face and died with a strange smile on his face.

The authorities decided to bury him in the local cemetery and avoid the expense to send him back to his country. His brother after a month's imprisonment was sent back home and took care of his brother's girlfriend and her still unborn child. His mother though, was so frustrated from her son's loss that died a few months later.

His girlfriend got hooked on the baby to keep on living, and always avoided the open ditches in the torn village's surroundings.


Timoleon Kamitsas lives in Athens, Greece.