Exile

I see them in your eyes, every day, the little questions eating away at your soul.
I see them, the little icicles of worry and despair, the never ending feeling of guilt, threatening to destroy you.
You smile and you laugh and you live, yet your heart is someplace else, with the thousands of brothers and sisters being tortured in God-forsaken prisons, their cries only echoing the screams of others. You smile and you laugh and you live, yet your mind is someplace else, trying to do something, trying to help, trying to relay information, trying.
You sit there, with your face in your hands, feeling guilty for being here and not there, unable to reach out to them, unable to join them as we plead and beg you to stay, where we can feel and touch you, where our selfish fear roots you to the spot, binds you to our love.
You sit there, endlessly talking to Comrades, debating until the little hours of morning on which position you should adopt, what you should do, endless, endless questions lining your heart with iron pins, the flavor of loss and sadness poisoning everything you taste. You can’t go, because you know what will be expecting you if you do, because you’ve been barred the gates of your home.
And I sit here, hurting because you are, bleeding for you, unable to soothe you, our minds and hearts with the sufferings happening beyond comprehension, and I sit there, the feeling of helplessness excruciating.
Then you find the strength in you to smile at me, and with that only beam resuscitate a glimmer of that old friend.
Hope.

Exile

You woke up as the sun was rising over your beloved city, tinting the sky a peachy pink, the smog blurrying the horizon, or was it your tears you couldn’t say. 

You didn’t know what to take, you didn’t know for how long you’d be gone, it all looked surreal to you, a big boys’ joke, really. 

Your mother was wearing her floaty 3abbeya, tears brimmed her eyes like diamonds surround sapphires. She was up before you, she made you coffee at starlight, no electricity again, you looked at her in silence.

Words were a luxury you could not afford. 

You draped your shawl tightly around your shoulders, tight, so tight it almost hurt. You carried your bags and your purse a thousand times, carrying them in a way that would never feel comfortable and putting them back on the floor with a definite thud that was here to stay.

You paced at the threshold of what you could once call home, lost in the no man’s land of your thoughts, drowning into space and time, the roars and chaos of the city spread ahead of you an already distant memory. 

You bid no one good bye for you did not have the time, you were pushed to leave and your numbness made you. So you stood in front of your family making decisions for you, trying to shelter you outside of a homeland that no longer felt safe, the smell of gardenia and bougainvillea intoxicating, making you sway in the scorching sun. 

You felt the nausea of leaving grip you while the taxi shook you to the airport, there were no tears in your eyes anymore, they were wide open trying to get as much of your eternal city as they could, taken in every crooked building, every coffee hawkers, every sound and every smell and every noise, trying to print all of it in your memory, the frustration of it all making your blood boil. 

You broke down when you saw the sea humming at your feet, bidding you goodbye, your salty tears rightly going back to her, you saw the sea try and lick your unspeakable pain away but it did no good. 

Your heart heavy with hollow sorrow, you picked your bags once again and started to walk, looking back all the time, pondering whether you should have just walked into the big blue haze, letting it put you to sleep. 

You left, and every miles that separated you from your land felt like a graze to your heart.