We’re all blinking and rubbing and I can hardly see who’s here, so I’m not worried that anyone will see what’s on my mind. It’s just another day, another piece of politics by other means falling from the sky to blow anther building into dust and smoke. Another strip of cloth soaked in water that helps me to stop coughing for long enough to listen.
A lot of what we do is listening. We’re straining our ears, begging any gods we haven’t given up on not to give up on us and to grant us a cry or a whimper from someone still alive in there.
We’re all looking where the building was, as if there might still be something to see. No one is looking at me, and none of us can see much. So I’m the only one who knows I’m praying harder than ever before. Harder than I would have thought it was possible to pray before I knew it was this house that was hit.
My companions know we had to abandon our own house after the fire last week. They don’t know this is my sister-in-law’s house, where we moved to. I do not tell them because if they know, they will speak to comfort me. I don’t want them to speak, I want them to listen.
So I take a moment to pause in my prayers for a sound to give thanks that when smoke gets in your eyes, they can’t see you’re crying.
Partly inspired by the heroic white helmets of Aleppo, but it could be many places in many times.