The 11th Day (6-Hour Truce)

 

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Najlaa Ataallh

Editor: Evelyn Teo

It was another hotly contested night of bombings.

The roaring sounds of artillery and warplanes didn’t stop, targeting everything in their path. This is the same routine every single day since the aggression started. No one could close his eyes and sleep. On this 11th day, they had harvested more than 140 martyrs and wounded 1800. The harvest season is now temporarily halted with the announcement of a 6-hour truce between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

“What day is it today?”, the first thing you asked yourself when you woke up at dawn. You ran towards your phone and tap on the calendar application. It stares right back at you, “Thursday, 17 July 2014.” You took another look to make sure your eyes are not playing tricks on you and smiled to yourself saying, “It is indeed 17 July.”

You tell yourself you couldn’t care less what day it is. Your mind is occupied by one thing only: This is the truce hours! Yet, the number 6 keeps echoing in your head and you asked yourself, “Do we have to summarize our lives into just 6 hours a day? How many minutes will that be? What can I do in this 6-hour period?”

You went back to bed, thinking of all the things you can do during this limited period.

“I will call Mohammed, Ahmad and Mahmoud! I want to see my friends! I want to know what had happened with them.” But all of a sudden, you remembered that your friend Ibrahim had been injured and lost his legs.You remember Abdullah was one of the martyrs who died. “How can my heart betray them and make plans to meet other friends?”, you asked yourself. You sighed in panic and scrapped the idea.

 “I will go to her house instead. Maybe I can tell her that my heart loves and care for her. I will tell her that. I want to know what she is doing! Even the walls in her house will want me to tell her. But, did you remember that the attack took her house and she no longer live in the neighborhood? She moved to a different area where you don’t even know.” Struck by another hopelessness, you gave up on this idea too.

What can you do in this truce hours? You can’t just waste this 6 hours doing nothing. “I will go out to the streets and observe people. Banks are open, so people can withdraw their salaries. Maybe I could go witness this little happiness!” Once again, you decide to forget about it when the image of death gathering all the families triumphed over the happy faces that you had painted in you head.

“What if I walk around in the city? I miss every little detail around town- the colors that fill the walls, the written quotes of condolences, congratulatory words, graffitis, all the advertisement banners that sit on top of the storefronts, etc.”

You want to see life even if life is asleep in this truce hours. You want to see youngsters smoking and kicking their boredom in coffee shops. You want to see them cheering while watching a football match. You want to hear the sounds of car engines, carrying people from one place to another.  You want to hear drivers calling out for passengers in front of the Al Shefaa crossing. You then remembered all the cries of the wounded who are sleeping and waking up in pain in Al Shefaa hospital. Once again, you too let go of this idea.

Unfortunately, every thought that you had, took place while you were asleep. You had hoped to wake up in your dreams that one idea will win over the others. Yet, you woke up in this day of truce, searching to find out what time it is. And when you saw the clock, you laughed hysterically, as it says “2:00 pm…” Sleep had triumphed over your plans!

 

 

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About nataallh

"It is an attempt to be me"
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