This week I’m doing something different. This is a story I wrote for my course in Professional Writing and Editing last year. I had to write the first two chapters only. So here it is.
It’s Monday and the start of a new week at Preston Primary School. Mrs Jenkins is Leo’s teacher. She tells the class that a new boy is starting tomorrow. His name is Carim and he comes from a country called Syria. Mrs Jenkins shows the class where Syria is on the map of the world.
The next day Mrs Jenkins introduces Carim to the class. Leo thinks that Carim doesn’t look like him at all as he has dark hair and dark skin. He can’t wait till lunchtime so he can ask Carim a lot of questions. Outside Leo and Carim sit together eating out of their lunchboxes.
‘What was it like living in Syria? Did you have a lot of friends to play with?’ Leo asks.
‘Yes I had friends to play with,’ says Carim looking sadly into the distance.
‘What did you do like to play?’
‘I played football with my friends, but only on cloudy days,’ Carim says.
‘Why?’ asks Leo who looks a bit confused.
‘Because when it was sunny the planes came and dropped the bombs. One day a bomb dropped close to my school so I had to go home early. It was very scary.’
‘We don’t have bombs. Mrs Jenkins said we’re safe here. Did you live in a big or small house? Did you have your own room? I have my own room. It’s great!’ Leo stops to eat more of his sandwich.
‘I lived in a small house. Everyone in my family slept in the same room. Dad said this would keep us safe in case the planes came again.’
‘Did you have shops there?’ asks Leo.
‘There used to be lots of shops, but they are closed now,’ replies Carim looking a bit sad.
‘How come? Why are they closed?’
‘They had to close because people were leaving my village and there was no-one to look after the shops.’
‘Do you want to come to my house on Saturday? My mum is taking me shopping. You can come with us,’ offers Leo.
Carim says that he will have to ask his mum first, but it should be okay.
Carim’s mum says he can go to Leo’s on Saturday. She walks Carim to Leo’s house which is only a few streets away from theirs.
Both boys are looking forward to seeing all the shops. They are looking out the window at the cars passing by.
‘It’s not long boys. Almost there,’ says Leo’s mum from the driver’s seat. ‘It’s quite busy at the centre so it might take a while to find somewhere to park.’
After some time they find a spot to park.
‘Okay Leo, now make sure to hold Carim’s hand as we walk across the car park and you hold mine.’
‘Yes,’ replies Leo as he takes Carim’s hand.
They are soon in the centre. Leo lets go of his mother’s hand and skips ahead of her with his new friend. Carim’s eyes dart from one side to the other with his mouth wide open. Can there really be so many shops in one place? Back home in Syria he’d heard about shopping centres, but he’d never been to one.
‘Slow down,’ says Leo’s mum as she walks faster to catch up to them. ‘There’s no hurry Leo.’
The boys get to go into a games arcade where they spend a long time going from one game to another as Leo’s mum follows closely behind.
‘Mummy is it lunchtime now?’ asks Leo his stomach rumbling.
‘Yes it is. Carim are you hungry, love?’ Leo’s mum says looking concerned.
‘Yes my stomach is feeling hungry Mrs Walker,’ replies Carim.
They go to the food court where Leo’s mum orders a big plate of chicken nuggets and chips for them to share. As they start to eat Leo asks Carim, ‘What does it feel like not having a home?’
‘Mother says we have a home in Syria, but we can’t live there anymore. Maybe we can go back there one day,’ says Carim looking down at his food.
‘Don’t you want to live here?’ asks Leo.
‘It’s a nice home but….’ says Carim looking at Leo’s mum.
‘Sweetheart, Carim misses where he used to live. If your daddy and I had to go and live in a different country would you miss being here?’
‘I don’t ever want to move from here. I would miss Gran, Pop and my friends too much,’ says Leo.
‘Carim had to leave all the special people in his life to come here. That’s why he’s feeling a bit sad and that’s why you can be his friend so he can start to feel happy again,’ replies Leo’s mum.
‘Yes Carim you can be one of my best friends just like Tyler, Jack and Haris are,’ says Leo proudly.
Leo shares the last of his chips with Carim who is starting to feel a bit better. It’s time to leave. The boys chat excitedly all the way home.
Blessings to all xx