My name is Luka
I live on the second floor

When I first moved to Australia, I spent a little time at a migrant hostel. It was a couple of weeks after my fifth birthday and I'd left all of my friends, my new school friends, and my entire extended family eighteen thousand miles away. I remember playing outside in the scorching heat of summer, with a short haired Polish girl called Dorota. I'll never forget that name, though I don't know her last name — the school photo I have of her only listed her as "Dorota P.".

I live upstairs from you

One night I remember hiding from my parents when they called me home for the evening. I ran upstairs, hand in hand with Dorota, and played cards with her there for what seemed like hours, but was probably only a few minutes. Finally they twigged, came upstairs and took me home.

Yes I think you've seen me before
If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight

Dorota's flat was upstairs from mine. I remember lying in bed for hours — it was so hot, and I was from the cold winter of Scotland, twisting and turning, bothered by the heat was a typical way to spend much of the night. Often I wondered about bangs and thumps from above, but strangely not many shouts.

Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was
Just don't ask me what it was

We were at school one lunchtime, and I remember a trail of bruises up the inside of one of Dorota's arms. I asked her about it and she became very sullen and silent. I asked a few more times — I was just a child, I came from a loving home, and had no idea of a concept so alien.

I think it's because I'm clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it's because I'm crazy
I try not to act too proud
They only hit until you cry
And after that you don't ask why
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore
You just don't argue anymore

One night, I lay in bed, still tossing and turning. I was going to say goodbye to Dorota the next day, because my parents had found a house and as a result I was also going to be moving schools. No bangs or thumps tonight, but I do remember flashing lights bouncing off of the ceiling and walls of the bedroom I shared with my brother. He was fast asleep, however. I heard my parents talking, I heard the front door open. I got up and out of bed, curious, and was met by my mother intercepting me, telling me to go back to bed. I did, and shortly thereafter, more flashing lights, and the sound of a siren quite close outside the bedroom window, but rapidly fading.

Yes I think I'm okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that's what I'll say
And it's not your business anyway
I guess I'd like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown
Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am
Just don't ask me how I am

I never saw Dorota again. Apparently hitting her enough to bruise her fragile, small, body, wasn't quite enough. And I never realised, for years, what had happened. I still can't comprehend why someone would move their family across the world, and then only weeks later kill their only daughter in a flash of rage. And I never had a chance to say goodbye.

- Suzanne Vega

Note: Original hardlinks by juliet
CST Approved.

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