Damascus Suburbs: The Moments Preceding The Death of All Round

Translated by; Aishah Barazi

Dedicated to Fida AlBa’ly

It is highly unlikely for one to wake up in the morning and find out that he has lost an eye that was blinking seconds before he dozed the night before. It cannot be true that it is now gone and a soft skin replaces it as if it was never there.

If this is truly happening then it’s the ultimate horror and misery. Just the likability of this taking place makes life hysterical with this kind of chaos and futility. It leads to one eventually hoping that he’d lost an eye or that his organs would immediately fall down one after another as fast they could instead of staying anxious and waiting for them to fall in days, months and years.

For that same reason, Abdullah volunteered to lay down in his friend’s grave claiming that he want to make sure it fits the martyr’s body. Abdullah said: They asked me if the grave fits? I laid down there and moved then I told them it is good for him and cried.. Jihad Shihabi, my brother, forgive me I was mistaken.. The entire sky isn’t enough for a small grave to be fit!

I have a horrifying urge to run for a place where a bomb is falling and take it in the chest and die. Tell me what is the other way to deal with the sudden disappearance of those who are around us?! What sort of black magic that daily takes a friend who used to sit in front of us hours before and now he’s laying down a grave, body torn apart, all his stories, laughs and words I am scattering the dirt on it. Neither our appointments will matter anymore nor waiting for him to appear; all has gone in vain.

Not only friends are being missed even those who passed by really fast, not seeking our attention, the horseplay neighbor, the boy in the nearby district who used to annoy us with his boorish playing. The seller who over-priced diesel, the anonymous lady who lived at the end of the street. Any body can disappear with a blink of an eye, before we comprehend that (s)he’s gone, even before we believe it, we found ourselves staring at his/her closed eyes and cold face in a stupid and indifferent video.

Instead of weeping on the past and grieving the martyr, as (s)he deserves.. Instead of mourning and having a minute of silence and abstraction, we found ourselves soaking in wonderment who will fall next, where, how and when? After an hour? Before lunch? On Coffee time? Or during a meeting that shows how patient, brave and steadfast we are till the fall of the last hero; the meeting that also proves how ugly and hypocrite the world is while collecting our falling parts and burying all of us?

How can we deal with this loss and worrying from the next loss without going crazy or to reconciliation with the idea that everybody is going to die, it’s just a matter of time? No need to worry, he will die and she will? This is the course of life but running faster as if it is being propelled by a giant generator with the capacity of full death.

Do not worry Fida and just as your mother said while touching your cold face in your farewell: “Sleep my love.. Sleep.” May you rest in peace.