[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.”“That should be this way then,” said Tetyana, pointing in the direction of the customs sign.“Are you scared at all?” asked Natalya as they made their way through the throngs of travelers hurrying in every direction.“A little.I’m afraid of being without you both.Afraid of being on my own.But we have to remember it’s only for a little while.Hopefully you will be joining me soon and before we know it, we will all be back home together again.”“And then we will never have to worry about how to pay for school.We will have plenty of money,” Tetyana said.“All good things have their price.And all things worth having require sacrifice.In the end, I know this will all be worth it.”“Did they tell you about your job yet? Natalya asked.“No.Nothing yet.I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.Whatever they have me doing, I’m sure it will be fine,” she replied.They came to a gate where only travelers were allowed to proceed.She squeezed both of her sisters’ hands tightly.“I guess this is it,” she said.“I guess so,” said Tetyana.Behind them, her parents caught up with the trolley of luggage.“We can’t come any further?” asked her mother.“No, Mama.We will have to say goodbye here.”“But do you see anyone you know?” her father asked anxiously.She scanned the area for anyone she recognized from the seminar, but there was no one she knew.Not even Henry or Patrick.“No.Not yet.But I’m sure they are here somewhere.I’ll be fine.Please don’t worry,” she added as she watched the tears building in her mother’s eyes.In an effort to keep from crying herself, she gave a quick round of hugs to each of her family members and took the trolley from her father’s hands.“I will call as soon as I can.They said it could take a while to get everything established once we get there, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from me right away.I will be fine.”Natalya rushed at her, nearly knocking her over with the force of her embrace.“I love you, Kate,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.“Love you too, Nata,” she replied.After releasing herself from her sister, she carefully maneuvered the trolley beyond the gate into the customs area.She turned one final time to wave goodbye to her family and then headed down the corridor in search of the other students.Around the corner, some hundred yards beyond the gate, she came across a man holding a sign with her name on it.She approached him cautiously.“I’m Yekaterina Malinov,” she told the man, who was tall and lanky with a wave of greasy black hair on the top of his head.“Oh, good,” he replied.“Henry and Patrick sent me.I have your paperwork.Come with me, please.”“Where are the others?” she inquired, pushing the trolley wildly as she attempted to keep up with the man.“They’re already here, on the plane,” he replied.She followed the man for what seemed like miles through countless hallways of the airport terminal.They finally arrived at an exterior door, which the man opened and encouraged her to go through.“You can leave your bags here,” the man said.“I will have someone load them for you.”She found herself on the tarmac, surrounded by dozens of cargo planes.The closest one, far smaller in size than the others, was equipped with a mobile staircase which led into the belly of the bird.The lanky man appeared beside her.“Follow me,” he said.She followed the man up the staircase, holding carefully to the railing.The engines of the plane, already running, were terribly loud and she was forced to cover her ears with her hands as she reached the door of the plane.The cargo bay was filled with crates securely fastened to the sides and to one another with large canvas straps.To her left, in the direction her guide was heading, were several rows of seats which were bolted to the floor.Two very frightened looking students from the seminar were already seated together in the seats closest to the door.“Sit down with the others.Be sure to buckle up.You’ll be taking off shortly,” the man instructed.“Sir,” she called as he was turning to leave, “what’s going on? Why aren’t we on a regular plane?”“It saves money to fly you to the United States on a cargo plane instead of taking a commercial flight.This way there is more money for your accommodations once you get there,” he replied.“Have a good flight.”The man closed the hatch behind him and she stood dumbfounded in the hull of the cargo plane.She walked over to her traveling companions and chose the seat beside them.“You’re Yekaterina, right?” asked one of the women, an attractive blond.“Yes, but please, call me Kate,” she replied.“It’s good to see you again.I don’t know if you remember me.I’m Lera,” the woman said.She was petite and had the delicate features of a child.Her blond hair was bleached, but her roots were barely noticeable.“And I’m Anya,” said the woman who was seated on the end.Anya was the tallest of the three woman and also the sturdiest.She was thickly built, but was not overweight by any standards.Kate was struck by her beauty but believed she would have been far more attractive if she would have chosen to wear less makeup.“It’s nice to see you both,” she said.“So,” Anya continued, “just the three of us were selected?”“It appears so,” said Lera.“We really lucked out.”“We did,” she said, although she was beginning to feel unconvinced.“Did either of you find out what job you are going to be assigned when we get there?”“No,” both women said in unison.“Me neither,” she confirmed.“How about Patrick or Henry? Have you spoken to either of them?”“No,” said Lera.“I haven’t either,” said Anya.The engines of the plane, which until that moment had been running in neutral, sprang to life unexpectedly.The plane lurched backward, forcing the women forward in their seats.“Ugh!” cried Anya over the sudden din of the turbines.“It sounds like it’s going to be a noisy ride,” she yelled to the others.“Have either of you flown before?” Lera asked.“No,” she said.“I’ve never been outside of the Ukraine.”“Me neither,” Lera said.“I have,” said Anya.“When I was a little girl, during the good years, we took a plane to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower.It was nothing like this,” she said sadly.“What was it like?” she asked.“It was quiet.And warm.And the seats were comfortable.We were brought food and drinks by the flight attendants.My mother let me get a drink with a little umbrella,” Anya reminisced.“It sounds lovely,” said Lera.“Well,” she said, “this is only temporary.Before we know it, we will be in America and we will be living in our wonderful new apartment.”“It’s going to be amazing,” said Anya.“Amazing,” she and Lera agreed.The plane, positioned for take-off at last, began gaining speed down the runway.Within seconds, the wheels left the ground, and the three women began their journey to America.The land of opportunity.CHAPTER18THOMAS“Thomas?” Mildred called cautiously as she opened the back door of the row house.“Yes?” he yelled from the second floor.“The door was unlocked.Why are you home already?” she asked.He ran down the stairs two at a time and helped his mother into the house with her armload of groceries.“I didn’t do any lineups this afternoon.”“Why not? I thought you said you were getting chosen for quite a few of them.”“I am.But I didn’t have time today.”“Oh?” said Mildred, as she rearranged the contents of the refrigerator to make room for the gallon of milk [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]