I try to open my eyes but they hurt
The bright light from the window is like a sword cutting my senses to see
I move to the right side of my bed
The fragrance of coconut enters my nose
I extend my hand forward
And take it back immediately
Touching her long silky hair may wake her up!
I shouldn't wake her up this early
"Are you both still sleeping"
"We planned a picnic today !"
"All you know is to sleep"
A yelling voice entered the room
He came nearer to the bed and shouted
"I'm going there alone, you both better stay here and waste the holiday by sleeping"
"Yes, of course, pack the food properly and don't wear those torn shoes again, the new one's are in the lower cupboard "
Abba turns off the fan and kisses my ammi on her forehead
"I knew you were awake"
He comes and sits on the corner of the bed
"I knew you couldn't pack the food on your own and can never find your new shoes out of the cupboard "
"Well that's you sweetheart my savior" he pressed his lips and showed off his beautiful dimple
"Here, just wake up wear this coat it's cold out there and hurry up let's go I can't wait anymore we're running late
I don't want the spot to be taken away again!" You know how much I hate zakib for always taking up that spot which is ofcourse not for the view we get from there; But to irritate me"
"He is 47 and I bet he'd have better things to do in life rather than irritating you" ammi says while getting out of the bed.
I giggle with my eyes closed abbu hears me giggle and comes to me
"Alright atif I heard that , you are awake I know
Common get up we need to rush"
I pretend to be in deep sleep when abbu does his most famous trick which I totally love and hate at the same time
Alright alright abbu i'm awake i'll brush my teeth first , I say coughing and laughing loud of the ticklish sensation
"Ammi says if you eat without brushing your teeth you'll end up having rabbit teeth like your father" I say while shutting the bathroom door
"Sarah, did you tell that to him?"
"You see kids have visual senses" she replied from the kitchen
ADIL KHAN - My abbu, has a wide black mustache, as mentioned earlier has rabbit teeth with a beautiful smile bright enough to blind the morning sun peeking in my window! Loves me and ammi to the core a perfect dad and husband.
Also, did I mention he just loves to eat chicken rolls!
"Sarah did you pack the chicken rolls?"
"How can I not pack the core reason of yours for which you're taking us out" ammi chuckles
SARAH KHAN: My ammi, has beautiful black eyes and long hair like a velvet covering her back. Although can not handle spice but loves to eat spicy food And also aahh what does abbu calls her? Yess! Kittenish
I don't know the meaning but I guess that means beautiful because she is indeed very beautiful"
"Are you done brushing your teeth or are you growing a rabbit teeth inside the bathroom atif?"
"5 minutes abbu"
ATIF KHAN: I'm 8 year old and a good boy as my ammi says. abbu wants me to become a doctor some day soo that I could treat the patients and take away their pain and in hobbies, I like filling colors in empty drawings, Ammi says when I was born I filled colors in her life soo it was obvious that I will be good with it.
Abbu goes out to get a rickshaw while I wear my shoes and ammi locks doors and windows
"Why do we lock doors and windows ammi"
"Soo that satan doesn't come"
"What if he does "
"He'll take away your colors Atif"
"Do double check the lock ammi I love my colors"
She smiles and patts my head and says
"They're yours Atif, no one can steal your colors"
"Let's go the rickshaw is here" abbu shouts from the main door of our house
Me and ammi rush out of the main door, ammi closes the door touches it with both her hands whispers something to herself
And we leave, We reach the exact spot where abbu wanted to sit Abbu almost falls down while running to the spot!
Me and ammi giggle
"Soo zakib didn't spare time to take your spot, how sad is that" ammi said teasing abbu
"You know atif why I love this spot"
I turned my head in a no, I didn't wanted to interrupt him by saying anything
"I used to come here when I was your age they didn't have this small pond back then and not even this huge crowd,
I used to come here with my abbu we used to sit under this oak tree and write poetries together he always complimented me on my poetries but I never asked him what poetry he wrote in his book? Was it about me? Was it about the beautiful lilies here was it about my ammi I never asked! I was too afraid to ask I thought he might scold me for it.. you know atif back then children were too scared to ask their parents anything or question anything elders say! he gifted me a white lilly for each good poetry I wrote after that I used to run home with my book and lilies to show them to ammi and keep them safe"
Abbu will you give me a white lilly too? I asked with curiousity and fear of him denying to it
"Indeed atif" abbu replied
"But abbu I don't know how to write a poetry!"
I'll teach you how to, but for now let's give you a lilly because you're a good boy
Here, take it Atif
Abbu plucked a white lilly and extended it towards me
"But abbu I did nothing to get this beautiful lilly for now I can't accept it"
Ammi smiled standing behind me she held my shoulders and came to the front, bent on her knees looked at me with all the love and the exact smile which she had in a photograph when she held me for the first time
"Atif son, accept this lilly as an indication"
"Indication of what ammi?"
"Indication of sunlight after the darkness, rotation of the earth, fishes in the pond"
"Everyone else can see that too ammi how does this makes me different"
"Yes indeed everyone can see them but everyone has different deeds, different paths my love and you've done some good deeds to deserve this flower which your father just plucked for you and you must accept it as a victory"
I nodded with smile Convinced with everything she said
We opened up our mat and sat there Eating chicken rolls,
Drinking tea, laughing and giggling
The wind here seemed happy, satisfied, participative in our happiness.
I started feeling sleepy soo I slept on the lap of ammi, her pink kurta stained red with the chatni of chicken roll which I didn't wipe off my lips
I slept hugging her thigh, I felt contend.
I loved to spend time here
With abbu and ammi I whispered a prayer ammi always did while we left home or came back home again I was yet learning the prayer so I whispered it low enough to not be heard by ammi.
She is my home, I am the colour of her life and no satan can ever do us apart I sleep with a faint smile on my face.
I try to open my eyes but they hurt, there is a musty smell around me making it hard for me to breathe I turn on my left there is a liquid flowing down my chin I half open my eyes to see what colour the liquid is ?
I fail to see the color of it
I touch my chin with my right hand its a runny liquid
I try to wake up and stand on my feet
The smell has just made is too hard for me to breathe now
I give in for the last time
"There is not satan"
"There is no evil"
I whisper to myself
I finally open my eyes after all the effort
The light of burning fire blinds me and leaves a loop of the fire image infront of my eyes
The smoke rises higher and higher covering the already darkened sky
My eyes are wide open now I feel I can see myself through the fire but it breaks my heart when it strikes me that this is burning fire not the pond of fishes which I saw in my dream, this is not the wind which blew in the garden with lillies and oak tree
There is no fragrance of coconut, dark black eyes and soft hands patting my head
This is SYRIA.
There are many children living here, commonly termed as orphans. I wish I would've for once got to see my ammi and abbu.
I wonder sometimes if I had any sister?
Would she look like my ammi?
But I don't even know what ammi looked like.
The blood is now dried and has stopped flowing on my stained white kurta.
I was sleeping in the backyard of ruins of a house when I heard gun shots and tried to run from there and a broken glass piece pierced my chin leaving a huge cut. A month ago our orphanage was attacked and I was seprated from my pals living there.
Separation and dying here are as common as sun rise and sun set. I close my eyes and whisper a prayer for everyone, everyone who is alive here on this land. I wonder if there will ever be a day when the sun light would wake me up, not the gunshots. I keep walking ahead faster and faster I hear footsteps following me, I walk faster and faster I tell myself.
"There is no satan"
"There is no evil"
"There is no satan"
"There is no evil"
I get blocked from my way by a huge tall figure standing ahead of me I still don't stop saying with my closed eyes
"There is no satan"
"There is no evil"
"You kid! Run away from here and don't you say out loud these words of yours because we do have satans, we do have evils"
"Open your eyes I am not going to harm you kid"
I open my eyes slowly and look at him He is a tall bearded man with sword in his hand
"I've heard that they planted bombs here, get out of this area"
"You understand ? Get out"
"I am thirsty, I am hungry, I can't run away more if that's the fate god planned for me I accept it with my blood stained hands and body sir" I said in one breathe.
"I wish god gave me enough to provide you with food and water son but I am helpless and soo is the whole nation, is there anything else I can do for you?" The tall figure replied
I paused for a moment wondering what should I ask?
What are people of syria capable to give in this situation?
What would a kid living here on the land of ruins ask for from a tall strange man?
I looked down and asked him
"Sir do you know any white lilly gardens near?"
He looks at me with disbelief
"Well .." he pauses
"The houses and humans are in ruins here, you see humans with open intestines and unsculptured faces here in each turn of the road, I don't know if any of the lilly would have survived son but, I know there is a garden exactly 3 km away from where you are standing to your right"
"But I fear they've planted bombs there and if you should go there"
"Thankyou sir" I replied
And ran to my right as fast I could I don't know if there would still be lilies blooming there, I don't know it there would still be any life there
I ran faster and my stomach felt like it is tearing apart
I ran out of my breath the sweat drops gave the dried blood some life and they stained my already dirty and blood stained kurta with some fresh drops of blood.
I took a pause when I finally reached the destination I kept both my hands on my knees and bent towards the ground took a deep breathe.
There is a huge garden just infront of my eyes!
It doesn't resemble the one I saw in my dream! but atleast I got to see a garden for the first time in my life!
The grass there has lost its green just like humans have lost humanity, the trees there seem as if they will never bear a fruit in next 100 years. I keep walking in the garden to look for lilies
I hear a bomb blast in the back of the garden, my heart almost gets into my stomach, I can not hear anything for minutes. I still walk forward to search for lilies. I was losing hopes but I reminded myself, in all the ruins i've survived for 8 years.
Here on this land this is a huge achievement! I will get it, yes! I walked forward. And and what about happiness? The other part of me questioned. I am almost at the verge of crying still not being able to find a single lily. I pause and look up to the sky. It's dark from all the smoke and clouds.
"If you're happy in a dream, does that count?"
My mind gets the flash backs of my dream, where I slept in lap of my ammi hugging her thigh and having a faint smile, listening to the jokes of my abbu and breathing fresh air
The memory made me cry and smile at the same time.
I hear some loud noises, I am unable to differentiate if they were gun shots or bomb blasts? I still keep walking forward with my fingers closed in fists. I see the only white flower blooming in the row of the dead. I look at it from a distance, tears come out of my eyes. I felt if I ever met my ammi abbu I surely would've felt the same way, Or maybe even better. I run towards the flower to pluck it when a huge fire emerges from the back of my feet.
A loud sound of blast,
A laughter on the other end of the garden,
I am almost unconscious, My kurta tears apart. I can't open my left eye. I look forward to the only lily bloomed. I lay down there lifeless but a sense of vision still alive in my right eye which no one can kill. The lily is in my right hand fresh and white inspite of all the dirt and hate in the nation.
My hand is burnt I could barely feel my arm as a part of my body. The lily is bloomed in the dirt, blood-stained and burnt skin of my hand.
Before death takes me away I whisper with all the life left in me
"To good deeds"
In Syria, we meet our parents and beloved after we die.