[Sorting through Ariel’s things today, I found this on the back of some paper she had been drawing on. It is dated a bit more than three years ago – I wrote it pretty much exactly a week before I discovered I was pregnant.]

It smells of diesel.

The hot, dark container on the back of the man Stevo’s lorry vibrates like thunder as it hurtles, seeming blind, along the badly made Mexican roads. A few cracks in the floor buzz with the violent shaking of the truck. It is night, but it would be dark in here even during broad daylight. There is no window, no ventilation, not even a breath of air. But for those cracks in the floor, the frightened cargo would suffocate.

They are cramped, scrambled in among crates and barrels stamped with words beyond their understanding. Each of them has a box to hide in, each a stringy bundle of nothing to take into the brave new world, and that is all.

They are listless: exhausted, but thrown about too much to sleep, as the truck rushes and bounces over ruts and pot-holes. A small voice complains of thirst and a woman whispers: “shh!” There is a creak as someone tries to find relief for stiff, cracking legs. Then there is no noise except the throb of the straining engine and the never-ending rattle of the container.

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