“Foreigner? Refugee? Displaced? One of Us!”
“Don\'t Look Out of the Window”
“What's up there, out?”
“Do you want me to tell everything from the very beginning?”
Sam looked at his brothers.
“Well talk then”, repeated Aram , taking his seat on the bed.
“I have an exam tomorrow.”
“Are you afraid?” asked Vahan swinging.
“No, I am not afraid.”
Aram looked down and started painting something on the blanket with his fingers trying to imitate the pattern. Vahan pulled his chair nearer to his brother's bed.
“What then?” he asked.
“Then, I think I will go for a walk with the others”, said Sam scratching his head.
“A walk with your friends?”
“Yeah, with my classmates.”
“Are they clever?” asked Aram, raising his head.
“Who? You mean my friends?”
“Sure, all of them are clever.”
Aram smiled joyfully as if he'd heard something very important, then he pulled his toy cars nearer to him to play.
Vahan looked at him but said nothing. For a minute nobody said a word. Sam and Vahan looked at Aram driving his car over the blanket.
“You should invite them all to our place for us to get to know them too”, said Vahan by moving the wheelchair.
“When will you?”
“During the vacations.”
“So to say in a month?”
“We'll be waiting.”
“Are you getting bored?”
“Yeah, it is good you go out with your friends. Who would be telling us all these interesting things otherwise?”
“When Aram recovers you will be able to go out too.”
Vahram was touched. He looked at his brother lying in the bed who seemed to have heard nothing.
“That's right we'll go out as soon as he is OK.”
“Then you will come to see all of my friends.”
“So we'll have friends”, said Aram in a high voice and he ceased playing with his toys.
“I know. Then we'll play with them. Everybody round here knows interesting games. They are good ones.”
“What kind of games?”
“I don't know but they are good ones. But they don't usually play these kind of games in our country.”
“Then we should try to recover soon, to see what games these are.”
“You just try to recover soon and everything will be OK.”
Aram looked at the opposite wall for a while, then smiled and said:
“Will we go to the seaside?”
“We will. Then we will see that the sea is beautiful.”
“We didn't have sea in our country.”
“Here there is sea and we will go to see it.”
“Can I see it from out the window?”
“I am leaving”, Sam said in a hurry and went out.
“So, will we go out once?” asked Vahan in a low voice.
“By all means. We'll go out when Aram is OK”, whispered Sam not to wake the younger brother.
Vahan was swinging the wheelchair thoughtfully.
“How is he to recover? He has been in bed since our arrival.”
“I know, and that's the whole problem.”
“He will recover.”
Vahan didn't answer.
“Say something, will he recover?” Sam went on.
Vahan shook his shoulders.
“Just be patient, you will see things are good here. Everything is good. ” Sam talked again.
“You are happy, you have friends, you go to school, and you can go for a walk.”
“Be patient”, repeated Sam.
“I want to go out too; I want to see the sea.”
“You will see it.”
“I can't see it from out the window.”
“It's on the other side.”
Suddenly Vahan rolled the wheelchair towards Sam.
“What if you take me out for five minutes, just for me to see it? Only five minutes…”
Sam stood up.
“Go out, I don't want to see anybody,”
“We'll go out.”
“You are lying.”
“I am not.”
“Are you back already?” asked Aram sleepily.
“I was asleep.”
“I know. I was here.”
“Did you take the exam?”
“Did you pass it?
“What did you do then?”
“I went for a walk with my friends.”
“Are they from our neighborhood?”
“Yeah, they are all my friends in the neighborhood.”
“Why is it good?”
“It's good when all are your friends, so you can introduce them to me when I go out.”
“Then we'll go out to the seaside.”
“I will teach you to make sand castles there.”
Aram was silent for a minute.
“I have never made castles in our country.”
“You will make them here.”
“I don't want to. If I have made none there, in my motherland, I will make none here either.”
“But that's interesting.”
“It is not. I know better.”
“Well, you sure know better.”
Aram gazed at the ceiling sadly.
"Then we'll go home.”
“Yeah, perhaps, we will.”
“Well, if you want we'll make a castle, but only one, just one.”
“Do you feel good?”
“You are happy, everything is OK for you?”
“Isn't everything good for you too?”
Aram turned to the wall and uttered nothing.
“Are you leaving?” asked Vahan.
“Are you going to see your friends?”
“Where are they now?”
“They are in the yard.”
“Are they waiting for you?”
“I have told them to, so they are there waiting for me.”
“It's good you are happy, which means we are happy too.”
“Look, if you are happy, we know everything is OK.”
“I promise to take you to the sea.”
“Go, they are waiting for you.”
“Promise not to look out of the window till we go out. Never do it.”
Sam was surprised Vahan had no objections. He turned to him quickly.
“I will be back soon.”
Sam went out. He was in the yard. There were children there. It was difficult to say what they were busy with. Everybody was gazing at him. Some stopped skipping.
“Look, he is back again.”
“He is a refugee.”
“Hey, where are you going?”
“Where are you going without your invalid brothers?”
“You keep them inside?”
“Move on, what has happened?”
“Go away, run!”
Sam went away in a hurry. He passed by the children in the yard. He was not going to the sea…there was none, there had never been any. Sam turned his head back suddenly. No one was looking out of the window. This was the most important thing. Let them not see their brother walking with his friends happily.
15 years old
Find Gor Baghdasaryan's all Stories (16)
“Father\'s Work - Being Refugee”
I was waiting for my friends outside. They were late again. I decided to have a seat after a ten-minute walk up and down. A boy stood near me licking an ice cream cone. He threw a look at his ice cream every time he licked it as if this would make it stop melting.
Now, I couldn't stand silent, after all; I decided to talk to him.
For a while the boy stood still; he stopped eating the ice cream as if trying to confirm to himself that I had greeted him.
“Hello”, I said again.
“Hello,” he said after giving my hello due thought.
“What's your name?”
“How old are you, Taron?”
“Do you study at our school?”
“I don't go to school.”
“Perhaps you will start your studies next year?”
“Mm...I don't know. One day I will surely attend school.”
“Why don't you go to school now? Do you have a mother or father...?” I asked him full of curiosity paying no attention to his feelings.
“Do they work?”
“Yeah…their work is being refugees. My father has been a refugee for a long time already; he cannot find a job.”
“What do you mean by saying being a refugee is work?”
“It means to live in displacement, in a ruined building, to wear dirty clothes. It means to bear all these things and not get money for it. That‘s the reason I don't go to school. I believe I can attend classes when father finds a job.”
He gazed at the ice cream for a while, took it to his mouth to lick but then stopped. He started crying, the tears fell on the ice cream he had just been eating.
“Look, you made him sad,” I thought to myself, “now think of something joyful to change the situation.”
I was about to talk about Winnie the Pooh with Taron when my friends arrived to take me to a cafe and I had to leave. I was going to enjoy my time, while Taron… what will become of him? Will he go to school? I know one thing for sure, he will go on eating his ice cream but in a much sadder mood thanks to me.
14 years old
Find Eleonora Harutyunyan's all Stories (13)
“This Tiny Corner of the Huge World”
“Ellen can you come to my place tomorrow to see how nice my room looks after the repairs?” my friend asked me at school.
“Surely. I just need to tell mother about it.”
“We can go to the hostel and use their phone to call her.”
“Okay,” I said.
Once the building was a hostel for students, now refugees live there. It was dark there. It looked as if the corridor was once separated into two parts by a rod. Now only part of it was left and the corridor looked like a prison. We went up to the first floor using the half-ruined staircase. It was even darker there. There was laundry hung in the corridor.
The water dripped down onto the floor. Near the laundry, against the walls cracked by moisture there stood a cradle with a crying child in it. A squeak in the quiet and dark hostel… We heard the half-broken door at the end of the corridor open. A gray-haired old man with a torn photo in his hands appeared. He also had some stones in his hardened palm which he played with while talking to himself.
“Grandson, have you seen my tzbeh?”
Two men came out and started making a fire. The corridor lit up. The empty hostel filled with the squeaking of doors opening. In a minute the cold place was full of people. Men talked of the world and of all the injustice in it. The thin women only shook their heads to agree with what their husbands said.
As for the phone, there wasn't one in the hostel, and to tell the truth my desire to see my friend's newly repaired flat was gone.
13 years old
Find Elen Gyoulnazaryan's all Stories (4)
“The Mulberry Tree”
There are mulberry trees in front of all the houses except the one in that street. The tree stands inside, in the garden, it is very small. Mrs. Varsik, our neighbor, planted it recently. A mulberry tree is very strong; it can grow even in dust, unlike the slim and capricious apricot and peach trees which hardly survive in the fertile soil of the garden despite all kinds of care. They even manage to complain. Mrs. Varsik felled all the peach trees in the garden and planted a small mulberry tree there. No one argues against mulberry trees being for children. Judge for yourself. Who except children will take the trouble of climbing the high branches of the tree and picking the small mulberry seeds? We shake the tree and eat our harvest right there beneath its shadowy branches. The old women have their share in the harvest too. After all, they planted the trees, didn't they?
It was the end of June. The awful wind was shuddering the windows in my room. The whistle coming from outside through the open window woke me up at midnight.
“Never heard of such wind in summertime”, I mumbled half asleep, half awake, and went up to the window to close it. Suddenly something moved in Mrs. Varsik's garden.
It was Mrs. Varsik. She was trying to roll a heavy stump towards her gates. I decided to call on her the next morning. I saw the cut-off trunk at the gates. Then I entered the living room. There in the center was Mrs. Varsik's refugee son's photo. Her son had left the country because he was unable to make his living here. He had gotten married and had children somewhere far away from his mother. Mrs. Varsik had never seen her grandchildren.
The photo in the center of the room was sent from afar.
“Good morning Grandma Varsik, my granny asks you over for a cup of tea”, I said.
“I am writing a letter to my son, we can go together if you wait a bit for me to finish it. Who knows, maybe he will receive it”.
I remembered her writing thousands of letters like this before. She managed to send them somehow but none got to their destination.
“Oh goody, you go out to the garden and pick some cherries; my backache is awful and I can't do it myself”, she told me.
“Why does your back ache”, I asked, meanwhile picking some cherries.
“The wind had opened the gates at night. I went up to close it and found out the lock was gone, so I had to roll the stump to close the door. ”
“Grandma Varsik, you should have left it open. No one would enter your place.”
“I didn't think of someone entering my house, deary, what can they steal from me? I was just afraid the strong wind may root out the mulberry tree I planted for my grandchildren. When I heard the wind whirling I ran out automatically to do something .”
Mrs. Varsik's mind was only occupied with her son and grandchildren. This was the reason she had planted the tree inside, in the garden, for the mulberries not to be dusty, for her grandchildren to come and eat them clean. The mulberry tree will surely grow; its trunk will spread all over the garden, but will Mrs. Varsik's grandchildren be able to come back some day? Will they be able to try their granny's tasty mulberries?
14 years old
Find Naneh Sahakyan's all Stories (7)
“The Prayer of a Lonely One”
Mother and I go to St Gregory's church every week. We see many people there, among them an old woman who prays for God to find her sons. They were lost during the war; they have displaced her and taken away her sons. She is a refugee and lives near our place in a kindergarten. Instead of taking pleasure in her children's and grandchildren's presence, she lives in the kindergarten, watches other children, waits for hers and prays.
13 years old
Find Zarouhie Ghukasyan's all Stories (7)
“Does It Happen Again?”
I remember Grandpa telling me about a displaced family who had found refuge in their village years ago. The family was facing many difficulties. They had no house but did everything to make a living. The village children used to cry:
They didn't realize they were adding oil to the fire.
“We are not refugees, we have blankets and mattresses”, answered the youngest and ran at them with his fists tightly curled.
12 years old
Find Narineh Daneghyan's all Stories (9)
“Only In Fifteen Minutes”
“What should I do now”, I was talking to myself. “Who told you to go out for a walk all alone? Didn't you know you would get lost? I think I will knock at this door and ask about a possible way out”.
I pulled the rusty gate, which squeaked and let me in. There, inside, under an apricot tree two 5 to 6 year old children were playing. The girl who stood at the doorway went in and returned with a woman. I told her I was lost and asked whether I could use their phone.
“Come in; wait for a while and I will go to call from our neighbor's. We don't have a phone. ”
I entered the house, which, to tell the truth, was far from being one. It was dark inside. The light came in from a tiny window. There was something like a bookcase and a bed beside the table and some chairs in the room. A man was lying in the bed. The atmosphere in the room made me feel depressed and I hurried to leave it.
“Let's go see our garden”, said the girl standing outside the house.
What they called a garden was made up of some trees and beds on which many different things grew.
“I have planted a flower here, but don't tell mother about it. She'll get angry. She tells me not to occupy myself with senseless things--but the flowers are beautiful, they are not senseless”, said my escortesse.
“What's your name”, I asked.
“How old are you?”
“I am ten, but I don't go to school”, she added quickly as if guessing my question to follow.
“I am helping mother. She collects money in the streets. I look after Suren and Armen meanwhile, or help her about the house. Besides, one needs money to go to school.”
“And where is your father?”
“In the house. Don't you remember the man lying in the bed? He has been having a footache, he can't walk”, answered Ani in a calm voice.
“Where do you come from?”
“We are refugees. Mother tells us it was good in our motherland, but I don't remember as I was born here. I will leave for America when I grow up. It is not good here. Mother says no one loved us when we first came here. They are greedy here; they give nothing to others. In the yard children mock me; they say refugees have come to destroy their life. Let these flowers grow. Then everybody will be jealous of me. I will have beautiful flowers which I will give to no one, even for money. This is not an ordinary flower; it is my friend. I will never sell it.
I don't know whether her flower grew or not but I know one thing for sure, which is that ten year old little girl taught me more important things than all of my teachers did during the eight years of my school attendance.
13 years old
Find Lusine Hakobyan's all Stories (14)
“Close Your Eyes”
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine yourself at your place, having supper with your family, talking about nice things--then turn the page and picture yourself devoid of all this, left homeless, without friends and relatives, without anything. Escaping is the only thing left to do, if you don't want to sacrifice yourself and die a hero's death. The wind blows you to some unknown place, to some strange town. You have nothing but your clothes and shoes; no one loves or respects you. They give you a place, sometimes under open sky and say, “This is it, go and live.” Sometimes being unable to speak the new country's language you face many difficulties and it is just impossible to pretend to be a native. No one wants to talk to you. If you want to find a job suiting your profession you better forget both about the desire to do so and the profession you have.
Now try to open your eyes. You see people who have to live in severe and unjust conditions, people who have to bear all this because of wars and disasters. These people need your help.
12 years old
Find David Martirosyan's all Stories (8)
“What Do I Need?”
It was Sunday. We were going to Vanadzor as a family. I was talking in the car:
“Father we need to repair my room, the door, the windows…”
Father gazed into my eyes for a while and said:
“Look around and you'll understand everything.”
I looked. There was a small house. It wasn't even a house; the paint had already gone from the metallic walls and there was paper instead of glass on the windows. But there was one thing which made the half ruined building look quite another way. Some refugee children played in front of the house which was large and beautiful for them. When I saw all these things; I thought my room needed no repairs.
13 years old
Find Garoun Partakchyan's all Stories (2)