Rana Shubair

My Child

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She loved to caress her child as he slept in her arms. He was getting too big to be held, but she couldn’t let go of him. She combed his eyebrows with her forefinger, and ran her hands through his hair. ‘Your eyes are exactly like your father’s. Your skin is the same color.’

She held on to her son for safety. After all, he was the only living proof that just yesterday, her husband was there with her.

 All the roses were withered. The gifts he’d given her lost their colors, and life dimmed in every corner of the house. Like someone had turned out the lights forever. Like the curtains were drawn shut. Like the sunlight stopped shining into their home. But there was no ‘their’ any longer. It was her and her son.

The ticking of the clock reminded her of every moment he was no longer with her. The stillness of the night sent shivers down her spine. Suddenly everything in the house seemed to be animate. She feared the cupboards. They might open and devour her. The chairs could walk and run over her. The windows peered at her with malicious eyes. The door could fly open and let the wind take her away. She held tighter to her child and braced herself for the long dreary night.  

They’d taken him away. Wrapped him up in the flag and told her to hurry in her goodbye. Why did she listen to them? Why did she obey? She fought their hands back and held on to the corpse. He wasn’t dead. She could feel his warm face as she kissed him. She wiped the trickles of blood with her scarf so she could inhale his scent. It warmed her heart and appeased her childish tantrums.

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