Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Toddler And The Sea

So I’m two years-old and, because I’m special, I was given a miracle: I can tell you my thoughts. I don’t know where I’m from, or where I am now, or where I’m going. I can only tell you what I’ve experienced so far.

Are you ready?
Here we go:

I filled my stomach on my mother’s milk when I was smaller. It was warm and plenty.
I slept on my father’s shoulder when I was too tired to walk. It was comfortable and wide.
I smelled my grandmother’s breath when she kissed me every morning. It was fruity and sweet.
I bounced on my grandfather’s lap when he tried to stop my crying. It was soft and a bit awkward.
I popped soap bubbles my older brother blew in my face when we bathed. It was fun and magical.
I kicked a football around and didn’t fall on my face for the first time. Everyone clapped for me.
I danced with my cousins to derbakkeh drums and oud strings. I liked the way their music moved my body.

I heard noises coming from the sky. They sounded like thunder, but were not followed by rain, only ash and cement chunks. It was too loud.
I hid in a closet to wait for the man with the heavy boots and long shiny rifle to leave our house. It was scary.
I crawled under metal wire with sharp spikes. They hurt when my skin caught on them.
I felt the sun burn too close, too hot. The only moisture came from my mother’s eyes.
I saw my uncle lie very still in the street, a circle of red paint spread around his head.

I bobbed up and down on a boat. I was sick. I only saw water.
I slipped through my father’s hands. I didn’t float.
I heard him cry. His voice went hoarse.
I swallowed water. It was too salty.
I breathed sand through my nose.

I am cold, very cold.

I’ve arrived.

Lilas Taha is a novelist, winner of the 2017 International Book Awards  and is the author of Shadows of Damascus and Bitter Almonds.

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