January 14, 2011

A Psychotic Occupation...

Being a "typical" woman, I guess I'd qualify my current state as "emotional".

For the past 48 hours, I have been unable to stop the replay of that conversation...maybe it was the tone and manner in which the news were delivered to me, it could have been an expression, a look in the eyes, a pause after a sentence...or maybe just the story...a story in a context, a peculiar context...

I write and I wonder will anyone understand me ? How to put in sentences the expression, the look in the eyes, the silent pause full of unspoken words ?

She's part of my family, of my bloodline, of my genetic pool, of my ancestral lineage, we grew up together, we played, fought, celebrated, dreamed, sang and danced together...

Where is she now, in which world, in which parallel universe ? She believed in the imaginary realm of fairies, angels, jinns and invisible spirits, so did I...I was lucky, she was not.

They called her to their palaces and fortresses. Will I ever be able to reach her again, like in the good old days, when dreams, fantasies and imaginations were benevolent ? When it was safe to be, knowing your psyche will find the grounds again, that familiar place where you can fall back onto, that secure garden where it was okay to wander and vagabond...

- Layla I need to talk to you, sit down...
- Allahoma ij'alu khair, I said (may God bring good news)
- your uncle just called, asking me to call your aunt...
- is that some chain of command ? protecting myself sardonically..
- it's about S. She's very unwell.
- how unwell ?
- your aunt said that she lost much weight lately, she stopped eating, she lives on a glass of water a day, and...
- and what ?!
- she sees masked men barging in the night, killing her and the rest of the family...it's been happening in their neighborhood, where people are slaugthered in the middle of the night in their homes...she stopped sleeping. When your aunt asks her to come and eat, she says she was already fed by Zahra (who passed away 20 years ago), she says that Zahra will protect her from the armed men in black masks. When they wanted to take her to a doctor, she said she was already examined, AbdelRahman (who passed away 15 years ago) already took her in a cart because there is no fuel. Your aunt says she wants to die, that she can't take it anymore, that she can't see her child suffer that way...she added that she's wearing 4 layers of clothes, because the nights are bitterly chilly and there are water cuts, electricity cuts, fuel cuts while they are filling their pockets...she says she's a prisoner in her home, she fears daily what will happen to them, a car bomb, a militia, a corrupt police force, a silencer gun, a kidnapping, an abduction, a disappearance...

A disappearance...that word stuck to my head. Is that not what S.did ? She disappeared from the reality of the Occupation, in her own way, by her own methods, where no American soldier, no security contractor, no Shiite party, no militia, no masked man, can ever find her again.

The call for the Sunset prayers just made it through, in time...a few rays of a cold sun, fell on the kitchen table...a silence hovered between us, punctuated with swallowed tears, tears gushing on the inside, flooding our being, a being shattered with years of brutality and violence, with untold stories of grief, separation, loss...with lost, missing faces buried in our memories like coffins, with sounds of guns, bombs, mortars mixed with melodies from the past, with destruction, loss of identity, loss of anchors, loss of references, loss of a vision for the future, an unknown future that promises more of the same...

The silence was pregnant with all of that...the faces composed, hardened with the secret thought --- we need to keep it together, we must keep it together, we have no option but to keep it together....because we have no familiar grounds to fall back onto, because we have no garden to give us space for dreaming, because our alternatives are either psychosis or death.

The call from the minaret with Allah Akbar was timely.