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In one hour, I will die

Sep 26, 2007
By Tala A.Rahmeh – Voices from Palestine
 

Have you ever thought about that last hour? In our minds, we always have that image of our old selves lying on an idle bed somewhere. But I’m not my old self; I’m lying next to my mother, on her bed in a small white room, with my eyes wide shut. It has been raining bombs for five hours, and with every drop of a bomb our house turns blue, not like the sky when its about to rain, not like the sky when its about to shine, but like the sky when your about to die, in an hour.

 

What have we got, in a world of a million possibilities and bombs, but our hours, we count them, we shape them, we love them then hate them, we place them in a cradle and then watch them leave, we swallow them with rage then surrender to tears, we cling to them, then let go and then, before we know it, one, small, tiny, tremendous hour is left.

 

We then wish we have had more hours, to look upon the world with an unprecedented happiness, to smile upon. I put my frozen naked feet inside the exhausted quilt, the feet that carried me across a short life, whether across a checkpoint, on the streets where a million children, tanks, stories and mothers have walked upon, on the hot sea sand.

 

A world of bombs outside is unwrapping itself, and dancing over roofs of homes where life was created, over schools where innocence was desperately fought for, over libraries where history untangled its pieces for the faceless wanderer, and soon over my own voice.

 

Do you ever ask yourself big questions, like why do we strap on our boots and march into the unknown, why do we write, why do we start when we know it will end? How come it can all come down to one hour?

 

We march into the unknown because our hands lust for freedom from the ordinary, we write because words erupt from the deep and define our otherwise meaningless faces, and we start because it is what creates an end.

 

The houses outside are silencing their remnants so not to trigger the blue rain. Tonight, there are no bed time stories, no late night dinner, and no chance for redemption from long forgotten mistakes. I bury my face in my pillow, and tuck my feet further in. Because with this specific long name, we were given life before this hour, a life where street names meant something, where people crossed their deepest fears to let knowledge take them by the hand to a new mind, where mothers gave birth to a different voice on checkpoints, and where children flew kites across the artificial air and space.

 

It deeply saddens me that I have to leave in an hour, pack my thoughts and depart my small body, I find it hard to fathom that my long preserved body will in an hour be insignificant, and then tucked with a hundred other bodies in the sheets of the same earth I stepped on yesterday in an attempt to reach home hastily. I can feel my mother breathing now, loudly, for the sound of bombs is growing closer to our window, I can sense it entering our brave house bluntly, to silently burn our books, pictures, and what remains of ourselves.

 

I have been a believer for sometime now, for when you live amidst a conflict, you severely need something intangible and uncertain to the naked eye, just like our lives, to cling to, for if I didn’t think that my soul will find another escape, I would have packed my bags long ago, in search of a bomb-less sky. I wonder what will be after this hour that is eating itself away in between my last earthly observations, will it be slightly painful, will it be sudden and loud, or just a normal continuation to a trembling life cycle?

 

Tomorrow, news agencies will be coming into our town to take pictures, maybe some journalists will shed a tear or two at the horrific sights, perhaps some peace organizations will come with aid to who remains, or possibly our once significant bodies will become writing materials for an ambitious writer, who does not know it yet.

 

I have always wondered about life and death. The sound is coming closer; our window is barely able to grasp itself in one last attempt to save our lives. Even windows in this fragile country are loyal. In the rear back of my mind, during my long walks back from school, I envisioned what heaven would look like, I wondered what it would be to live in comfort and luxury, minus the chaos and garbage in the back alleys; it would be so crowded with life and diverse spirits, and we would all go out for a drink. Hell, on the other hand, would be a repetition of this last hour, till eternity. I can feel at the far end of my veins the ticking of the clock; my hour is softly departing, no loud exits. Do you ever wonder how our ends are always quiet? No matter how loud our life has been we always disappear so calmly, as if leaving the shattering scream to those who stay behind, who will weep and grip our last pieces.

 

I will miss home, even those nights of agonizing endings, for it gave me a capacity to envisage, what others, sleeping dreamlessly under their clear skies, could not comprehend. If I can come back for another hour, I would choose to sit and read, under an olive tree, while our desert sun sets peacefully and try to humbly wipe years of aching nights.

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