I pause halfway up the gangplank of the ship that is to take me to a new life and career across the ocean; the ship that is to save me from poverty, ignorance and prejudice.
I look back at my family waving goodbye – my father, diminished by years of heavy drinking; my mother, the feeble shell of a battered wife.
I think of the abuse and beatings I have suffered, bones barely knitted.
I look at my young brothers and sisters; see fear in their eyes.
I throw my ticket into the cruel sea and return to the dock.