Archive for March, 2012

For Syria

Listen to: Goldmund – Threnody

I weep the beloved country, for it celebrates martyrs that have gone too soon. It lets out a scream and although we all hear it, see it, and witness it, we cannot feel its loudness through exile. The boy who cried revolution lays untouched beneath ashes of his own home. Now, he is warm and wrapped in the embrace of heavens above. He looks down upon us in hope, while we look up in tears and pray.

It has been a year and I swear, I cannot fathom how for everyday throughout these 365 days a soul has left us due to injustice. Every asylum I seek for emotional comfort is closed for repairs. My country is dying. My people are starving. I am losing my sanity, one body at a time, one cry of help at a time.

Bless their souls, be they forgotten beneath rubble, or buried amidst gunshots. They are dead, but never gone. Their chants echo across a blind universe that is bound to wake up soon. And when it does, I will nurse you to sleep my fallen kingdom of hopes. I will shelter you within my dreams and I will save you for myself, all to me, because I am selfish when it comes to you. I am your child and you are my land, my holy red land that died while resting on my lap. I will bury you, just as I buried your different flags, your martyrs and my tears. Within my forsaken silence.. I will bury you.

I let my guard down and have failed you, my beloved country. I have failed your weeping children; I have failed your widowed wives and husbands; I have failed your unborn children that never saw the light of day and died in their mother’s womb. I have failed you. I am at loss of words, for silence has taken the best of me.

Nothingness; numbness; blank. Statistics; rivers of blood; cloudy skies; obscure future; Syria; the unknown. وهل للوطن بديل؟

Short story: A eulogy for love

Listen to: 183 Times – Greg Haines (click play)

I never understood why you always hummed while thinking. In lieu, I adapted your humming habits into mine and hummed whenever a thought crossed my mind. I remember when we fought, once. The first time; it was a silent war between two hearts that grew distant and apathetic. You just changed, and I changed accordingly. I always moulded into your behavior that I no longer had a specific identity but linked to yours. I think, now, that is why we’ve grown apart; we’ve become so similar that we put out the flair that bond us together like a mother bird teaching its little one how to fly.

You were my mentor, I assumed, and I learned though you never wanted to teach. I would tell you to teach me, and you would refuse. You’re too young, you’d say. Even as I grew older, my infantile nature never grew to you. I understood, I was always your baby, but I needed more than to be a child, I needed to grow old so you’d love me like I loved you. There’s an innocence in you, you’d often point out to me, I cannot disturb it. So you took off instead, eventually that is. We were always destined to fail, not because of my immaturity, but because your mentality and how you first perceived me.

But you see, I grew up along with you. We both did. You grew out of love, and I grew blinder in love with you. It is ironic now that I see it. I see no love, I see no passion. How so, though, when it was all I could feel; when it was all we could both feel? Or were you acting then, like you are now, once in warmth and now in coldness. This is not a love letter or a letter filled with regrets. This is nothing, just like you told me we were, nothing. This is a random stranger walking down a rainy street with no umbrella. This is a crazy gypsy dancing in front of a bonfire. This is a eulogy for love, because you killed it and I am yet to bury it. It has laid motionless at my doorstep for years and years, and I masked its stingy odour with the perfume you gave me till the last spray.

Our fight, yes, the subtle one. The one that tore us apart. It was a summery day, and then again, when does the sun not shine over those in love? You kissed my forehead not my lips, and I felt an ache, a headache from your kiss. You wore that shirt I always hated, the one with the graffiti you never liked. You had your fancy sunglasses on, and I swore for moment, you looked like a stranger from a distance. You waved at me like anyone would, and I smiled at you like no one ever could. You rode in your red car, the one you now pick up pretty girls in mini skirts in, and stopped, like a stranger would. You said, I will see you tonight. I nodded. You offered no ride back home, or to your heart where I belonged. I nodded again. You drove away before I could say I love you, like a stranger would.

Then you called later that evening, and I hated my ring-tone, but you loved it. So I kept it, for you, because you loved it. You told me you loved me in that sleepy voice of yours, and I was all dressed up to meet you. We were pretty together, as I recall. You in that black tux, and me in that white floral dress you liked. You never wore ties, you hated them. You always unbuttoned the first few buttons. You thought it was appealing to women, but not to me. You knew I never liked it, but you did it anyway. You asked if I loved you, and I said yes. You asked how much, I said I don’t know. You hummed. For years now, I wondered why you hummed when you did. If you were to love me like I loved you, shouldn’t there be no measures? We sat silent in that fancy restaurant. Even the music in your fancy red car could not silence our silent guns. But you, you had the last shot. I laid my weapon down and gave up to you, and you still fought back. I guess the only difference between you and I was that you fought for yourself, while I fought for us. That is how you killed love. You killed love because you never felt it. You killed love because you thought it was a war between us when it was only a gesture of eternity with each other. You killed it, but I let you. We’re both guilty, me for loving you, and you for letting me believe you loved me too.

Today, I let no love stand between myself and others. You made sure I would never speak of it the same, like I did when you first told me you loved me. Why would you though, if you were preparing for war? I have grown to despise those who speak of love as those it is attainable, as though it is the only thing that makes sense. When we said it to each other, it was the only thing that never made sense.

When death came, I shed no tears.

Listen to: Sometimes by Wes Willenbring.

Winter departs with just another soul escaping to the other side. She often wonders what this other side is. They speak of it greatly in movies and books; there is always an aura of white light depicted in pop culture. Then a soul leaves its body, just like that. She never witnessed a death, even in movies, she’d close her eyes afraid it would come after her. She would also skip paragraphs that spoke so beautifully about death, she failed to see the beauty of it. She could never come to peace with the idea of moving on so easily. Death is such an easy thing for the dead, they say. They will look over our shoulders from up above and guide us, they tell her.

—-

My grandfather passed away when I was in first grade. I remember coming home one day, running towards my mother’s room as I normally would, only this time her arms were not open wide to embrace me. They were wrapped around a wooden chair with her head leaned down. She was crying. This had been the first time I see my mother cry. I threw my big purple school bag on the ground and ran to her. The hallway leading to her room felt as though it was stretched longer than it normally was. I reach to her, kiss her forehead and pat on her head asking what had happened. Her voice was shaky, her crystal blue eyes shimmering with tears, she told me, “Jeddo ra7, noora. Jeddo ra7.”

I did not understand what she meant by him going, I just cried along. Her tears ached me. I have never seen my mother cry this much or be wearied by sadness for that long. We were not in Syria at the time and I think part of her being sad was because she did not get to see him one last time. I have only met my grandfather a few times back then, and my memory of him is quite hazy. He was tall with white hair, pale skin and blue eyes. They tell me I inherited my height genes from him.

Edna, my grandmother, still wears her ring after all these years. She has a picture of him in her bedroom. He was quite the handsome young man. She never tires of telling my sister and I stories of him whenever we visit. The most prevailing memory I have of him, however, was while hugging my mother as she cried him away that day.

My father grew up as an orphan. He often tells me of his beautiful mother and how she passed away at an early age. Grandpa re-married a few years later, as tale goes by, but my father tells me it is always different without a mother. Sometimes, he closes his door and listens to folk music about mothers. I dare not disturb his solitude, for death has shaken it to its core.

Death steals. Sometimes it comes unexpected and takes the young away, and at times, we feel its presence before it arrives. So we make space for it. We set aside our lives and feel a certain heaviness painting our days in grayscale. It comes in rescue of the ill and leaves a void within us. It is us, those who mourn, that feel it most. I believe the only time we do not feel the ache of death is when it comes for us.

I grew up fearing death for my loved ones that every night, before going to sleep, I would pray to God to keep my family safe. I would pray for each person in my family. I often cried as a kid. I never understood death. But my mother, she cried when it came. And my father, he closed his eyes in silence at its mention. So I cried, not because I understood it. I did not. But because everyone cries when death arrives. Then they smile.

Then in my early adolescent years, my friend died and I could not cry. Not one tear. At first, I thought there was something wrong with me. I still do not know why I could not cry, even when I wanted to. I think I cried in fear of death so much so that my tears ran out. I rarely ever cry. I do not know why. Crying gives such comfort and people always refuse it. I wish I could cope with my sorrows in tears. It would be easier to cry them away than to bottle them up like I always do.

Perhaps, this is why I am too cold, too heartless, too apathetic – because I could not cry when she died. I went on with my life. I refused to think of her. I packed her belongings in a box and gave them away. She gave me a novel once, I had forgotten its title. After she had passed I sat hours staring at the novel. I could not read for years. I could never finish a book. I always felt cheated with no endings to my novels. I wrote instead. I mark everything to read and leave novels unfinished. I only started to read this year. Every time I go to that place, right between the covers of a book, I see her shadow haunting me. I wish I could cry her away, even now, but I cannot. I am devoid of emotion. I am heartless. But I cried once, I was not always heartless.