‘Deliver us from Ouistreham’

It’s dusk and I’m running. I’m running for the open door that’s swinging from the back of an eighteen-wheeler, just out of reach. Running for the womb of a lorry that might deliver me. Pick me up and set me down by the water’s edge, and let me find myself there. Let me begin again.

I can dream, can’t I? That’s what we’re all dreaming about, in this little seaside town, where we sleep away the daylight hours on the dry park lawns. But what use is a dream now? It’s money that gets you places. Always money. And there’s none of that left.

I miss this one. I miss the next. That’s how my nights go. Sprinting. Missing. They’ve started driving faster now, faster than we can run. Or with a car right behind, all the way through the town. Can’t blame them, I suppose. But they blame us: the drivers, the police, the politicians. If things had gone another way, it might be them, running. Will you forgive us, just as we would forgive you?

We do it all in the half-dark, of course. Harder to see us. But what you can’t hide is your heat. It gives us away, being alive. They pull us out of there by the ankles; the wrists; like lugworms from the sand, and we wonder if we still are, or should be.

In all the weeks I’ve been here, nobody’s even left the port. I’m starting to think I’ll never make it. Perhaps that’s why we dream: of a grip, a foothold, a distracted border guard. Of what might lie beyond the water’s edge. Of a journey, uninterrupted. Of a life beyond this place.

The sun is rising red out of the night and I’m still running, running for a bar on the door of a lorry. Deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom. Amen.