We got your letter! Mum says I can’t mail you my reply because letters aren’t being delivered to Sarajevo. That’s why I’m writing it down in a notebook so you’ll read them all when you get back.
It’s been six months already since you walked mum, Stane and me to that bus without a single window pane. As the bus drove off, I watched you wave at us until you got lost in the distance. “It’s a good thing the bus has no window panes”, I thought “or I’d throw up”. We passed soldiers by who would occasionally shout something at us. They were all wearing different-coloured uniforms.
Then the bus broke down. Right next to the soldiers. They ordered us to get off and started going through our luggage. One of them, wearing a cowboy hat and a moustache, spoke English to the soldiers in blue berets. He noticed I was gazing at him, so he patted my head and said “Don’t be afraid, no one’s going to touch you.”
We waited in the crowd until another bus came along. It was already full, and it had all of its window panes. I knew I was going to feel sick in this one.
Mum pushed through the crowd and managed to get us on the bus quickly. She shouted she would get right on, just as soon as she takes care of the rucksacks. I was standing on a crowded bus with Stane, trying to see the door. When the bus got going, I started to weep convulsively, gripping to Stane’s shoulders. The next thing I remember were the hands of strangers around me, padding me on the shoulders and saying “Don’t be scared, your mum is here, she got on…”
I threw up on that bus.
At the departure, I remember you saying you’d join us soon and that until then we should enjoy Belgrade. But, we’re not in Belgrade. We live in a village Divljana, near Niš, in an Inn called “Sutjeska”. I hope soon you’ll be here too.
Warmest regards from mum, Stane and me,