The doors closed. Within seconds the wails and cries were replaced with a deafening whooshing sound. Every soul oscillated with the vibrations. The tremors increased exponentially as everyone was pulled with a juggernaut.
But, the silence prevailed. The silence of a thousand people breathing in unison echoed. The eerie calmness was interrupted by shrill cries of infants and the shooing of their mothers. Everyone managed to crimple into tiny spaces as a deep stench of mud, blood, and sweat spread in the air.
Sabah looked around at the various faces. Faces that reflected loss, dismay, deceit, and pain. Teary dried eyes that lost the ray of hope. Her heart palpitated and she felt claustrophobic. She pressed her forehead between her knees and let out a deep cry. Tears flowed like a stream, she became unaware of the surroundings as she wailed her heart out.
Tiny fingers caressed her head, “Everything will be fine soon. Believe in God.”
Sabah lifted her head to find a little boy comforting her. She hugged him tight, “Yes, I will try.”
Sabah was drawn to the memories of the day that was.
Karim had rushed into the house. The wrinkles on his forehead and the shiver in his fingers spoke louder than the words he uttered.
“Sabah, they will come for you soon.”
“Karim uncle, who is coming?”
“The same people who orphaned you.”
Sabah stood in disbelief. How can it be true? Did the city fall so soon? Is it some kind of international politics and have we been the scapegoats all along?
“Sabah, this is no time to contemplate. Pack your bags.”
“No, I am not going anywhere. This is my home. Why should I run away?”
“Don’t be foolish. I won’t let all these years of hard work and perseverance go in vain. You have to go.”
“Years of hard work? Wasn’t it all for the good of the nation, for my people?”
Karim handed a package to her and placed his palms on her forehead, “Child, maybe this is just a small hiatus. Be patient, your education and your dedication towards the upliftment of the country’s women won’t go vain. Now, is not the time to argue. Leave at once.”
“But where will I go? I don’t know anyone anywhere.”
“The package has your passport and some money. Go where they take you.”
Sabah sat upright and wiped her eyes. Her goal in life was lost. The beginnings that she yearned for came to an abrupt halt. As the aircraft made its way on American soil, people rejoiced to celebrate freedom.
She headed towards the exit when someone patted her shoulders. She turned around as butterflies flew in her heart.
Sabah hugged her mother and broke down. For years she had believed that her parents were dead and grew up in a missionary orphanage.
As she set foot on new soil, she looked up at the sky, I believe in God. Thank you for a new purpose in life.”
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