The kind of sadness that floats in the background, chokes you in the throat, hurts you deep in the gut.
The first time I saw a dead body was on the morning of July 27, 2013. A pool of blood and the slippery feeling under my shoes: “This is not where I want to be…”
I thought facing the dead would make me cry.
More than two years ago I stood in Liberation Square, one small person among hundreds of thousands of other small people, all fighting – as if we were one – for something really big.
This feeling of euphoria has now dissipated.
The look in a young boy’s eyes watching his father’s last gasp as he journeyed from life to death is hard to forget. The restless eyes of a mother hunched over the lifeless body of her son telling him to speak to her, is burned in my memory.
I didn’t want this in my story.
This can’t be the story.
This was meant to be a story about searching for familiarity in a country I have long held onto through childhood memories.
It’s hard realizing home is no longer home.
I’ve lived off my expectations for its potential, piecing together memories from my childhood.
I remember watching my grandfather as each day he would read the newspaper from cover to cover. A daily ritual that had me sitting at the edge of childhood curiosity until I was old enough to understand and question: Why don’t people speak up? Why is no one fixing what’s wrong with things? Why don’t you want to vote? “It’s all predetermined, just like our fates.”
These threads from the past have guided me to the present.
Now I look around and I smell blood. There are dried traces on my shoes.
I hear loud screams – mine, sometimes others.
The hatred is palpable.