The fight in the yard cost both Alex and me three days in the isolation wing. It was cold and dark, but I really didn’t mind. Because our cells were next to each other and we spent our time talking. We shared our stories, our fears and thoughts, our hopes for the future. It was fascinating to hear him speak; his restlessness and optimism were reviving. Despite all the bad things that had happened to him, he wasn’t giving up.
“I’m not staying in this shit-hole a minute longer, if I can help it, Phoebs. I’m going to escape and you and Max are coming with me”.
Such a surrealistic notion. But Alex sounded so sure that I felt myself getting carried away, imagining a life away of that horrendous place.
I was surprised when they came to take us out. Time had passed so quickly. The three days that I was shut in there was the best thing that happened to me in my entire stay in the orphanage.
The institution’s guards escorted us to the dining hall and left us. The buzz from the hundreds of voices inside pierced our ears after the overwhelming quietness of the isolation. Back to reality, I thought and made ready to enter. I longed to see Max.
Alex stopped me.
“We’re gonna escape soon. I mean it. Me, you and Max. Soon!”
I must have looked really astonished, because he laughed at my expression and messed my hair up.
“If we are to escape, you and your brother need to learn some life-saving skills”.
And by life-saving skills Alex meant learning how to move quietly and in speed, how to pick up windows and doors and how to steal; how to spot all possible routes of escape within seconds; how to fight and how to remain unseen and disappear within a crowd; how to elude the surveillance cameras and to outsmart the tracking systems.
Ironically enough these were the skills that saved our butts time and again over the years.
They still do.
It took us months, but Alex was patient and encouraging, never letting our failures to get the better of us. We trained for two or three hours every night and during the daytime we would put our skills to the test.
But more about that soon!
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