It's a bright, sunny day.
I enter the tunnel, on my way home.
A small silver car passes slowly, stopping alongside the pavement, just ahead of me.
The driver's eyes are watching me in the rear-view mirror.
Blinking, I look behind me, then ahead.
There's no one else around.
I am alone.
A train transporting people rumbles overhead.
I am alone.
Focusing on the pavement I quicken my pace, but as I reach the parked Fiesta, the driver leans across the front passenger seat. Winds the window down.
Tugging my head up, I look into smiling eyes.
'Hi,' I reply.
'Like a lift?' he asks.
Must work in the hospital with my parents. Must've recognised me.
It's only a fifteen minute walk to our house, but I don't want to offend.
Opening the car door I get in.
Caging us together.
Leaning away from him, I watch his plump hands reflect in the windscreen as he changes gear, driving us on.
'Where are you going?' he asks.
'Home,' I reply.
'Where's home?' he asks.
An express train hits me, blurring terraced houses, shops, church, on the familiar road.
What if I open the door? Jump? How fast are we going?
It's just three months since we came to the UK.
To start a new life.
'Oh, need some shopping. Drop me off here?' I say.
He stops outside the convenience store.
Heart battering against my ribs, clutching my satchel, I step out, adjusting my school uniform.
'Like to go for a drink?'
'Sorry, can't,' I say, putting on my best smile.
'Come on, I don’t bite,' he says.
'No really. Thanks though.'
Hands quivering I turn away, and stride into the shop.