Short-Fiction: The nameless child

29th Aug 2014

Sumra Khan

I am the child whose name you do not know. Whose image violates the sensibility of your space, whose face becomes relevant only as you gaze into the eyes of your own. But what do I do? You ask me. Ask me? What can I do? As I lie trembling on the bed, surgeons nervous, frantic pacing around me.

The blood in my eyes clouding my gaze, the shrapnel in my brain clouding my thoughts. All you see is the ravaged T shirt, the torn limbs, the grit stained feet. Do you allow this image to permeate to the conscious space which motivates an action…or does it blur into the zone of non relevance because I have no name. What can I do? I couldn’t even run. Cowering in the opposite corner of a room – the screams of my father the last sound that is imprinted in my memory, as he tells me – stay on that side of the room with your sister. So that if a shell falls at least half the family will be saved.

I threw the stone. Yes I did.
I picked up the gun. Yes I did.
I held a “hostage”? Yes I did.
I saw my mother burned? Yes I did.
I saw my father’s feet buried beneath the rubble? Yes I did.

What can I do? I did what I could. The circumstances shaped my psyche. Tell me…what can you do?
Can you hold your child and protect them with your love? Can you feed your child and nourish them with your sentiment? Can you teach your child and enrich them with your knowledge? Can you pray for your child and bless them with your invocations? Can you pray for Abraham and Basil and Hussein and Amir and Abdullah and Qasim and Seraj and Musa and Akeel and Nidal and Saad and Fatima and Nour and Safa and Anas and Saher?

Gaza city, Khan Younis, Beit Lahiya, Rafah, Jabalia, Homs and Zainabiya. These are the places where your prayers could not protect your child. Where flesh was seared, where screams were echoed, where sirens wailed, where it seemed the world lost hope.

I beg you, please look into my eyes which are barely open as my skull is fractured and my nose broken. See what I saw and tell me you will leave me here to fall asleep among the silent screams. Tears? There are no tears. Tears are a luxury for those who have the time to weep. I have no time to breathe, because my lungs have collapsed and the shrapnel in my spine has pierced my dreams.
Do what you can.

My name is Maha.
Age 12
Shifa Hospital

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