I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It was in fact three years ago, and this is how it began.
“Noooooooooo!” my friend Tarek exclaimed as he just lost his favorite marble. We were playing a dangerous game, in which someone could lose something of importance. It had been a while now since we first sat down and started playing. We were at the edge of the public garden, just below our building. It was quite a busy time for the area, and the garden was buzzing with activity. Kids ran the length of the field, flying their multicolored kites in the breezy wind, while others chased each other relentlessly in the open green space. Grown-ups sat down on chairs, fervently arguing about politics, and smoking water pipe (arguile(. It was currently my turn and I had just won Tarek’s best marble.
“You can try and win it back,” I replied provokingly, setting the marble down in my pile.
“Nah, I’m finished with this game,” he returned out of fear of losing more, “I’d rather play ships.”
I agreed, so we proceeded to the water fountain with fresh sheets of paper. As I was giving my boat its finishing touches, I saw a familiar face in the water’s reflection.
“Fadi!” my mother called from our balcony, “come with me to the Souk, I need your help in choosing some goods.
” I was elated when I heard this. Even though I was having an epic time with Tarek, I would not pass up an opportunity to go to the Souk.
“Coming Ma!” I shouted.
I bid farewell to Tarek and rushed inside my house to go with my mother to the souk.
It was not far from where we lived and we arrived shortly. The souk had an atmosphere to savor. Brilliant lights from adjacent shops reflected across and beamed through its long corridor, creating a dazzling starlight effect. Intense aromas wafted through the air from small kiosks that sold snacks ranging from appetizing sugar-covered almonds to rare spices. Vendors called out in a musical Damascan dialect, coaxing passers by to stop for a taste. Thousands of customers from all over the world bustled from shop to shop frantic to purchase wanted items before they sold out. Many lingered to barter with store owners for cheaper prices, causing mass congestion. Several carried with them paper bags containing tiny nibbles of sweets or other temptations that melted delightfully in their mouths. Joyous squeals of laughter could be heard as small children sprinted about in the center, while others sat and fed bread crumbs to flocks of pigeons. During the commotion, I had somehow been separated from my mother. Seeing the back of her head, I rushed forward to meet up with her. Suddenly, however, I saw a blinding flash, like lightning, shortly followed by a massive wave of fire and an ear-splitting roar.
I woke up on the ground, where I had seen the flash. Everything around me was in tatters. The skeleton of the souk building could be seen, and the sunlight coming from the canopy illuminated a massive amount of dust in the air. I could not spot a single human being. At this point, several questions flooded through my head. “What had happened?” “Where was my mother?” “Where was anybody?” I rushed home, only to find it deserted. Dust had settled on top of the tables, and all of our personal items were gone. I rushed to the balcony, only to find that the garden below was now a sickly brown. I tried to control my racing heart and extreme feelings of panic.
“Where is everyone!” I screamed, the terror evident in my voice.
I sat myself down in a corner and started to cry.
“Everything will be alright,” I said, trying to convince myself. But days passed and then months, all the while I was roaming the area in the hopes of finding someone. I had no such luck. Until one day I was loitering where I had last been with my mother, when through the smoke I saw a familiar silhouette. It was big and tall with broad shoulders and was holding the hand of a smaller figure. They were none other than my mother and father. An inexplicable surge of joy rushed through me as I ran with tears in my eyes screaming, “Mom! Dad!”. But something was wrong. They weren’t answering me. I slowed to a stop. I reached a mere meter in front of them. But their eyes seemed to pass right through me. My parents, with tears in their eyes, knelt down and rested a bouquet of flowers over where I had first woken up. Then slowly, begging it not to be true, I looked down at my hands and body to discover that I was intangible. I am Fadi. And I was killed in the blast. I died in a senseless act of violence. My life was shattered at an early stage because the heartless adults of my country couldn’t settle their differences in a civilized manner. I, like thousands of other kids, was killed because powerful countries cared only about strategic interests. Our lives were meaningless to them. Many feel sorry for me to have died at a young age, but when I look around, I feel sorry for my siblings and friends who did not die. Those who are living in refugee camps away from school, where food is scarce and health care is almost non-existent and who are subjected to all kind of abuses. Sometimes I feel lucky to have died and not live through this dreadful ordeal.
يلفت موقع النهار الإلكتروني إلى أنّه ليس مسؤولًا عن التعليقات التي ترده ويأمل من القرّاء الكرام الحفاظ على احترام الأصول واللياقات في التعبير.