They say it’s a beautiful life,
and I wanted to believe that,
after all I still want to believe
that the sky would clear,
and the noise I hear would be
and not bombs.
I want to grow up, I want to see what other people from different countries see, I want to know why they say that life is beautiful, I want to go to school, I want to graduate, I want to do something I love, and I want to have a family that I will protect with all my might.
I’ve always wanted to play in the rain,
but for years the raindrops turned to bullets,
and each night I wait for a shooting star,
just so I could wish,
I’d wish that I’d be able to go somewhere far,
far away from here,
but shooting stars turned to airstrikes.
Some kids are deeply saddened whenever their toys get broken,
and how I wish my life is as easy as theirs,
because what makes me sad here
is whenever one of my siblings or my relatives don’t survive an attack,
or whenever we have to eat grass or food from trash just so the hurting in our stomach stops,
and whenever my dad and mom cries
for the death of their beloved child, oh how cruel the world had to be
I can’t keep track of my dreams and reality, for they both look the same for me— a nightmare with no exit.
I wish I could escape, but I heard that both escaping and staying
has a very low chance of survival.
I just want to live, I want to see my family happy. Not like this.
“Run!” A man shouts.
I quickly went to where my family is hiding,
only to find them
lying on the ground
in an ocean of blood.
I want to wake up. I want to wake up from this. Please, someone wake me up. This isn’t real. I’ve lost too many and they are my family. I have nothing. Please, I just want to wake up.
Oh this isn’t a dream. I just really can’t tell most of the time.
People are running around,
carrying around babies,
and kids trying to carry their dads and moms,
and I stood there,
crying out for help.
I cannot carry them
I’m too small and fragile and hungry.
Still I tried, my brothers, my mother and father.
Using all the strength I have left, while thinking I have to survive this, I have to live, but I want to survive this with them.
A man grabbed me,
“son, you cannot save them, they’re gone. Save what’s left. Save yourself.”
I was telling him no, I was shouting, I was trying to wake them up.
“Mom, wake up, it’s time to go. Hurry now dad, open your eyes, it’s time to run. We’ll survive this together if you just open your eyes. Please. Dear God, all my previous prayers don’t matter anymore, you can scratch them, right now all I ask is my family’s survival. Please wake them up.” I am trying to get away from the man who’s trying to pull me out of the explosions.
But I’m weak, every part of my body hurt.
I am shaking. And crying. And losing hope.
But they said life is beautiful?
Why can’t I see? Is this the kind of beautiful they are referring to?
This isn’t beautiful.
This is ugly. This is sad. This is tragic. This is a nightmare. This is death.
Later on, a rescue team got me. They are trying to talk to me, they said they’re gonna help me.
The man who saved me didn’t make it.
I am still breathing.
I lost everything, but I am alive.
My family would want me to live.
And I am breathing.
Maybe this is a beautiful thing.
Breathing, maybe that’s what they were referring to with beautiful.
I still want to grow up.
I still want to do what I love, I want to paint, I want to listen to a good music, I want to be somewhere far far away—where a song has rhythms and harmonies, instead of explosions and cries. When living feels like living, where life doesn’t feel like death.