The Fifth day “Destruction of houses”

Fifth day
Najlaa Ataallh
Editor: Evelyn Teo

Shook out of bed from the all the deafening sounds that reached your ears, yet mostly from the vivid scenes of war in your own head. You reach out to feel your body parts, making sure every piece is still in its place. Your head still sits above your neck. You rush to the mirror and examine every detail of your face; you confirm and re-assure yourself, “These are my two eyes… My nose… My mouth…”. They are still intact, where they all should be. Neither part is lost nor shattered into remains. You are still in one complete piece, the way your mother had given birth to you.

You close your eyes for a moment, taking in a strong, deep breath and exhale in gratitude, “I’m still alive!”. Hiding all the fears and emotions in your heart, you summon your feet to take a step towards the window. Once again, hopelessness engulfs you when you see the sky crying in black smokes. The sounds of the jets still ring in your ears. You feel the closeness of the bombings. You say to yourself, “This is only 500 meters from me.”

You step back from the window and rush towards the television, only to find another power cut. You plug your headphones into your mobile phone and listen to the radio. The number of martyrs has now exceeded 100 and the injured exceeded 700, most of them are women, children, and elderly people. You try all your might to deny in disbelief that it is now the fifth day of the siege in Gaza.
You bite your lips and turn off the radio. Your sense of smell is awakened by the smell of cooking in the kitchen. You constantly look for anything that will occupy your mind during the day in this holy Ramadan fasting month.

You run into your mother’s arms. Looking into her eyes, you could see her soul has been taken away from her. Your heart sinks, sighing sixty times in a minute’s breath. You can’t help reciting, “God, please empower me with Your wisdom and patience.” in your heart.

You try to anticipate her heart beat when you asked, “Mother…I’m going out today?” Unlike a thunder that comes after a lightning that warns you, she shut you out completely and screamed into your face, “Don’t you ever leave the house! YOU HEAR ME?!”
Yet you insist on reasoning with her, “We are one with God.”

She explodes with all the swear words that exist in this life. You stood still, frozen by her reaction, but you understood. You begin to pray silently in your heart, “God, please be with all the mothers who are losing their children…”

All of a sudden, you feel the ground tremble, knowing it’s another bombing. An intense bad feeling creeps up inside you. The next thing you know, you overheard something from the radio: Another home with people inside it has just been bombed by a F-16…

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About nataallh

"It is an attempt to be me"
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4 Responses to The Fifth day “Destruction of houses”

  1. BookerTalk says:

    Nataallh, I felt so moved by your piece and felt so helpless at the same time. How you have the courage to go on every day under these circumstances I cannot imagine. I’ve been reading your story The Whore of Gaza in The Book of Gaza recently – I was lucky enough to hear Atef speak at the Hay Literary Festival in the UK. If you see him or hear anything of him, please let him know there are people in other parts of the world that are thinking of him and all the writers in the book.

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