Have you ever felt a sharp aching from deep inside of you? Like a needle piercing through your skin, penetrating you flesh, blocking your blood, but it’s not just any needle, it’s poison and with every layer it touches the pain spreads. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it’s pulled out and you have to go through all the agony again. No? I didn’t think so. Pain is a word that has lost its meaning now, yet I have to face it every day. Can you imagine being in complete agony but not allowed to utter a word about it? It seems like mere fiction doesn’t it? It might even seem impossible. I just wish it were only an image in my head.
She sat there pen and paper in her hands, tears streaming down her face. She was going to let this tale take her away. It was going to engulf her pain, her sorrow and manifest it in a way only writing could. She was going to live in the future, in a time when all this suffering was over.
Her brother died today, in the name of the country they say. For the sake of freedom, but if that were true then why did she feel even more locked up? How come she’d give the world just to spend another day with him? Why did she feel so alone, like nobody possibly understood when she knew hundreds had died with him and thousands more were left to grieve their deaths?
Adam was so lucky. He didn’t have to face living in this hell another day. It’s everyone that he left behind that is doomed. He got the easy way out. Men always get the easy way out. She should be happy that he’s gone, died a martyr, he’ll be granted the highest level in paradise. Her emotions were illogical, why did she feel sorrow? He’d died a hero’s death, and he would be rewarded for his sacrifice on the day. Why did she feel the need for revenge? Revenge never did anybody any good, but she couldn’t help it. It grew stronger with every breath she took, ever sight she saw.
“Heba” Her mom called out with compassion, “Are you okay?” She quickly wiped the tears and replied with a smile, “Alhamdulillah”. Her mom stood at the door analyzing her for a minute, but that minute felt like years, it weighted down on Heba, pressuring her, challenging her to break. She knew her mom could see through her smile but she still needed it. It was the only way she felt safe, the one thing she had control over.
Her mom took the few steps from the door to her bed and sat down beside her. She silently placed her arm around her and then slowly leaned towards her. Then the first tear fell, and everything seemed to be going too fast.
Heba clenched her mom closer, afraid the wind would snatch her away as well. She needed to be strong, rigid. She was the only one left now, from 4 kids she was the only one still here, the only future her family had. Till this day she had never seen her mom cry, not once had she shed a tear, not when Ahmad had perished, or when Zaid was practically beheaded, no never. So having her lying there in her lap, having to see the cap of all her emotions finally break, shattered Heba. She could never imagine how much it hurt, having your 3 sons stripped away from you and still having the strength to say Thank God. Seeing her mom like that took a part of her innocence, nobody was all mighty, it took it and burnt it to shreds, never to be seen again. A part of her soul was glad to have it gone, she needed to be heartless if she wanted any chance in surviving and more than anything, she wanted to live.
Selfishly giving away her life wasn’t something she planned on doing. “I promise ill make it.” She whispered more to herself than anyone else. She wasn’t going to allow herself to explode like a grenade, piecing a part of herself in everyone she knew, she wasn’t going to be the cause of the pain she was feeling now, even if it meant living in torture, her mask her only shield.
“He was so young.” Her mom whimpered, “Not even 15”. Heba placed her hand on her moms shoulder, as if a comforting hand could in some way save the shell that contained her now soulless body.
“None of them are left.”
“I’m still here” Heba said with a strength she didn’t know she possessed, “Don’t worry mom, I won’t go anywhere. I’m gonna live through this no matter what.”
“Heba don’t say that.” her mother said as she lifted her head, now looking her eye to eye, “honey, don’t say that, it would be an honor to die like your brothers.”
Heba held her moms stare, she didn’t dare say anything that could hurt her mom even more. She nodded allowing a single tear to spread down her face, “Ya, Allah Yarhamhoom. May they rest in peace.”
No matter how hard she tried to suppress her emotions there was one thing that kept repeating itself in her head, ‘ Itha alshab arada alhaya fala bud an yastageeb al kadr.’ The first verses of the poem that had started it all, started this so called Arab spring. She believed it with every inch of her soul. Ever blood cell in her existence seized its truth and used it to draw its strength.
“If the people demand to live, then there is no doubt destiny will comply.”