An Untold Story
My classmates recite my country’s pledge but I do not say a word. I can not bring myself to recite broken promises. My body stands still in fear. My mind ponders on that fact that there is a possibility that my small school may be the next victim of a land explosion or that I will never witness another day. Fear is a feeling that has been made ordinary. Here in Haji, I spend my days trembling in fear.
Dead bodies float in pools of blood left in the market square. The village is recovering from a bombing at the market square. Hundreds of people left dead, mourning a loss, but mostly a village left destitute. Mother says it is as if we are holding onto a broken tree branch almost about to break. I always asked Ma about why our village was like, why did our people have died, or why we have to live like this but I always receive the same answer. ” We are meant to endure and things will eventually get better” is what Ma would say.
Ma was never educated. She did not finish her secondary education. At age 15, her father arranged for her to be married. Ma spent the rest of her teenage years trembling in fear of her husband. Ma became a victim of my father’s growing temper. My father used Ma as a breathing punching bag. My father abandoned Ma when he found out she would birth a girl. He viewed her as incompetent, unable to birth a boy. Ma always expounds about how difficult the life of a girl is. From birth, we are to be subservient.
Day by day our village decreases in size. People flee the village. One night I hear Ma talking to Mama Halima about leaving this village. Mama Khadija story is similar to other women in Haji. Her husband deserted her. She alone raised her only daughter, Halima. Mama Halima’s happiness came from her daughter. She would do any and everything to satisfy her daughter. Mama Halima’s life drastically changed after the sudden death of her daughter. She watched her daughter’s body burst after a missile hit. After this incident, Mama Halima was never the same. Ma fears I might suffer the same fate. With no money, we are left to stay in our displaced village. For now, Ma and I must find refuge in each other.
Firecrackers explode in the air. After years without joy, we finally have reason to celebrate. Just last week the head of eastern region claimed, one terror group has surrendered. Allahu Akbar is what we chant. For the first time in several months, Ma smiles. I search for happiness but I can not. I know this sudden joy will not last. In Haji, happiness never lasts.
As minutes go by the thought of death becomes more vivid. Explosions come down like rain. Different cries bang in my ear, blood splatters on the side of my school windows. I know death is near. In the few months that passed, I learned how sorrow quickly consumes. Ma died in front of me. Ma bleeds to death. I watched Ma die in my own hands. I could not save her. I became an orphan at the young age of seven. I was born a nobody and would a die a nobody.