Red Ship

Editor’s Note: As New Voices’ first editor, I am thrilled to launch Pulse’s newest feature with this story by Livja Koka, depicting, among other things, the difficult choices that parents make in hopes of giving their children a better future. This story, we hope, is only the first of many accounts by writers whose voices and experiences have often gone unseen and unheard. If you have such a story to tell, we hope you’ll consider submitting it to New Voices. — Olapeju Simoyan

Every family has things they do not discuss. The emotions are too real, the pain is too raw, the guilt is too intense, the denial is still too young to be interrupted. In my family, we have little problem discussing most things, except for the events of one dark day.

The date was March 19, 1997. The place, Tirana, Albania. I was barely six, so my memory of the day feels like a dream that fades in and out and has no finite beginning or ending.