From when I was a young child I always knew we were poor. I was taught always to eat all my food because we didn’t know when out next meal would be. My family was small compared to most; it was my mother, my father and myself, I was seven at the time. And it was around my mother’s birthday when my father got the letter that would change our lives.
My family lived in a tiny apartment in the poorer part of Indonesia. This is the only place we could afford to live with a roof over our head, as we didn’t have much money to spend. My father had a factory job, making soles for shoes and my mother sold drinks on the side of the street. Both of them were severally under paid for what the minimum wage was, because they were both uneducated. But my parents knew that those were the only jobs that they could get. When my parents would work I would be at home looking after myself, I learnt how to do that quickly because we couldn’t afford a nanny or someone to look after me.
It was just a normal day and I was waiting for my father to get home. When he knocked I opened the door and welcomed him with a hug. He then started looking left to right before closing the door and unusually huffing puffing violently as if he had been running from something or someone. As I looked at his hand when he walked past, I noticed a packet three flavoured noodles, the kind you buy from the shop. He placed it on that small table we had in the middle of the room. I asked him where he got the noodles; my father replied with, “Son, you don’t need to worry about it.” So, like my father said, I didn’t and, the only thing that did pass my mind, was that we had some food to eat.
When mother got home she too was surprised letting out an exciting grin and a “woo”, at the noodles that sat majestically upon the table. She asked my father where he got it and how he could afford it. He replied with a look on his face that my mother knew what it meant and didn’t ask any more, and then he announced, “let’s eat”. We all sat down after cooking the noodles in hot water over the wood stove. We all when to sleep with our stomachs full of food that night. As we don’t have a big apartment I sleep in the main living room and when I was getting into bed the door was open into my parents room, I could only see mother with her, angry look furious actually”.
“Yes I know it was the wrong thing to do, I wasn’t thinking with my head, I was thinking with my stomach.” Is the only thing that I heard from that convocation. When I saw my mother’s reaction, thoughts rushed to my mind, thinking what was going to happen to father I didn’t know exactly what had happened but from the sounds of it, it wasn’t too good.
The next day when my father got home, a letter was slipped under our door for my dad I picked it up and hand it to him; it looked important. You could see my father’s heart drop and his face fill with fear. I heard him mutter two words when he was looking down at the letter with worry, “oh no”. Mother asked what the matter was, but I’m pretty certain she had a good idea of that it was. Then father showed her, she ran her fingers through her hair and walked around in circles before asking, “What are we going to do?”
Another day passed I found out that it was a notice to appear in court. I couldn’t think of what he had done wrong. By this time my father had some what consolidated his plan. He called a family meeting, so we all gathered around the dinner table. He said we had two options to choose from. The first option was for father to go to the court hearing, or to flee Indonesia. Almost instantly we all agreed on fleeing Indonesia. We started talking about our options, when father mentioned he would walk past a travel agent when going to work and green and gold colours followed by the words “Australia, where the bloody hell are you?” He mentioned the picture of Australians and Indonesian people at the beach together looking like they are having fun, as he continued to explain I grew more and more excited to go to this great looking country.
This was our chance at a better life, to make it somewhere. When talking about it my father mentioned that I might be able to go to school. That did it for I really wanted to go. A few days later it grew closer and closer to my father’s court date.
When everyone arrived home, we all sat down again and decided that it was going to happen, we were going to the green and gold Promised Land… Australia
As we didn’t have much money, we had to ask my uncle or my father’s brother, if we could borrow some money for boat tickets. Of course we had the intent to pay it back once we got on our feet in Australia, because we know how tight money is. Once getting the money we packed a bag with some of the supplies we packed a set of clothes for each of us, a candle, drinks my mother got, a small amount of dried fruit and lastly my bamboo flute the one thing that I would never leave behind. Then we left early in the morning to avoid police and authorities, as this boat ride was not exactly a legal one. When we got to a dock we handed over the money and got onto the boat.
We found a small opening on the deck of the boat and set up camp there. The boat was quite full. I wondered as I walked onto the boat what these people are running from. As soon as we got on I rested my head on my mother’s lap and before I knew it I was asleep. I remember dreaming about what new feats of adventure moving to Australia would be like, and if we would be accepted into the community.
When I woke up there was an orange tinge in the sky and I knew we were close. It was around half an hour later that we spotted a big grey ship; it used its horn to signal our boat to stop and dive over to the big grey one. People on our boat were waving their hands violently. When our small boat moved closer to the bigger boat. There I spotted the crew members on the boat when looking at all of them, my eyes met with a woman; I saw her laugh, smile and crinkle up her face.
The coastline shimmered in the dawn and dolphins were playing in the shallow water. A new day, a new life, a new beginning presented its self to all three of us at that time, it was the chance to rewrite the books that held out fate.
By Lachlan C