Today they started building The Wall. When I woke this morning and went down to the kitchen, Mum and Dad weren’t there. I followed the low murmur of the television and found them in the living room. Dad had his arm around Mum, and from the way her back shook I knew she was crying.
I watched the Docums for a few minutes. Picture after picture of our Chairman, hardhat on his balding head, shovel in hand, surrounded by smiling workers. All men, all white. I wondered if Heidi’s dad was there, or Rachel’s. Mum and Dad didn’t know I was there. A weird heaviness filled me, like I’d swallowed an anchor or a flat of bricks. But then it became part of me, I’d absorbed the weight of it all, and I returned to the kitchen, but I wasn’t hungry for breakfast. I shouldered my backpack and, even though it was still dark, made my way to the corner to wait for the bus.
At the bus stop, I sat on the curb, sheltered by the ancient maple better than any umbrella, and pulled out my DocBook. I wanted to write—I needed to write—but my emotions tangled together and the words stuck together like glue. Above me, the sky spit hard drops of rain that spattered on the leaves. Down the street the dim yellow of headbeams lit the way for the bus. I powered down my DocBook and as I stood, I remembered: Mum’s family lived in Guadalajara, she was born there, and now The Wall would keep her away from her family forever.
Two months ago I started BEARING WITNESS, a new novel, one that will push me as I am writing speculative young adult, but one which I hope has an Atwood sensibility. The story grew from an ancient flash, never published, I'd written in response to a prompt about walls. This is the beginning of chapter 3 which I've been wondering how to start. I have to thank the current administration for it's announcement today that they are proceeding with blocking our borders for shaking out my block. Peace...