your Eyes Only
By: Nisreen Idrisr
My past life loomed before me as I walked the tortuous road
to my village, which I abandoned when I was a boy. I
overtook the arrivals accompanied by a nostalgia that
stretched before my eyes towards the pure horizon. I
collected with each glance a bouquet of love and raised with
each whisper a plant of affection.
Here I am; my return was not expected to be at this time. I
came back without luggage, leaning on a cane that
fraternized with a sustained injury that will never heel
with time. I walked down the road while seeing only the
reflection of my shadow on the cracked asphalt. The sounds
of the glorification of God with chants echoed deeply in my
ears like the sound of beating drums from a distance. I am
nothing but a passenger who carries the torn paper of his
passing days, scouring the past through lines that have
emptied from everything!
I found myself leaping into another time, the days of which
I had hid between the lashes of my imagination in order to
spin them with my memories while I hide in its corners from
the days that pass lifeless—moments of inner combustion.
Ever since I left the front and my weapon the world has
become lifeless for me!
I reached our destroyed house. The houses are so beautiful
when we hide inside them our dreams, carving their walls
with our blues, growing in their pots plants of happiness
and flowers of hope. All I could do was staring at the
growing grass and wild roses between its ruins. Each time I
looked around a longing for everything grew in my heart. I
came near a stone beneath the solid tree that was planted in
the garden. I reached out to lift it from its place and
pulled from beneath it a rosary beads and a talisman with a
carving that read: "God, protect me with your protective
shield behind which you protect whomever you chose." The
mere touching of these items was sufficient to inflate my
heart with winds of sadness, causing my eyes to cry tears of
sorrow. It is so hard to return without the loved ones. The
trails where thorns of loneliness grew are so depressing.
They extend like a silent hedge that encircles the soul. I
arrived to this place before my cousin "Ammar," but I
realize that I will not win the term which we stipulated
together four years ago, when a last mission inflicted me
with an injury that hinders me from struggling for the way
Four years ago, "Ammar" and I were assigned with a mission
to observe one of the common outposts that gathered the
Israeli enemy with the mean Lahdist collaborators in our
village. Our mission lasted for ten days. When we started
pulling out, the Israeli warplanes began flying at a low
altitude. Therefore, we sought refuge at a place that was
close to our semi-destroyed house. At dusk, "Ammar" insisted
on going home before the completion of our withdrawal. When
the warplanes minimized their hovers, we approached the
house with extreme caution. On arrival, he took off his ring
and placed it with a rosary beads beneath a stone and said
- Next time, either of us comes here before the other and
takes them will be the first arrival towards martyrdom."
I was surprised by his behavior, especially because we were
at the wrong time and wrong place. So I replied:
- If we remain here, we will never leave this place."
I asked him to speed up our withdrawal before the jets
repeat their low hovering. He looked at me and said:
- I do not know why I feel that this is the last time for me
seeing our home. Let me save something from our beautiful
past life. I want to leave something inside our home that
will provide it with warmth before our memories die inside
it. Do you see how our childhood has been encircled by wires
of absence and distraction? Oh, I repeatedly asked Allah
(the Exalted) to help me return once more to our home. It is
nice to be held by our house at the time of our death…
embracing the remains of our bodies… Don't you think so?
I answered him with some irony:
- I feel that this is going to be our last moments
He continued unrestrainedly with his body language, which
made me always happy for him:
- Memories are like perfume that emanates from the roses of
the past. This happens when the breeze of nostalgia strikes
our deserted spirits."
We continued our way through the hard trails during a night
from which we could only see nothing but blackness. From
time to time, parachute flares had lit some of the woods
that sank into darkness. The group that was waiting for us
was not very far. Our mission almost reached its end quietly
and successfully. However, the unexpected happened. Fired by
one of the warplanes, a rocket struck near us, injuring "Ammar"
and me. I did not know what happened until I woke up inside
the hospital after being in a coma that lasted almost two
weeks. The first one I saw was "Ammar." He was sitting next
to me, holding my hand and reciting some verses of the
Glorious Quran. However, he had a bandage that covered his
eyes, which lost sight forever.
After days of sighs and sorrows, a car stopped in front of
our house. "Ammar" dismounted with a comrade. He started
approaching slowly to suddenly stop, as if he felt my
presence. He laughed and said:
- You outran me? When did you arrive?
- Since this morning
He came and sat near me, held my hand and said:
- None of us will outrun the other towards martyrdom.
- Time is the only thing that exceeded us.
He held a fistful of soil, smelled and cried:
- Say to these planes not to blame me. Say to these
mountains, this earth, these trees and rocks, to forgive me.
I did not abandon them due to a shouldered burden nor has my
love for them vanished. It continues to live inside me. Say
to this land that it is my heart with which I can see. Tell
her that my eyes are not extinguished. My other senses
continue to feel their destination with their track as my
compass. My heart will guide me the way. Ask them, why they
did not embrace my soul when I fell to the ground swimming
in my blood? I wonder if I do not deserve to die among the
grains of its dust. Are they rejecting me because of my
wrongdoing? Did they take my sight because it travelled
their vastness to scan its holy limits with loyalty? Ask
them to forgive me for losing my voice and whispers. I never
abandoned them. I have no elsewhere to go. Those fronts are
haunting me. The image of victory is so beautiful. Who owns
this colorful space? Who owns this sky? Who owns this
I embraced him and said:
- For your eyes only O "Ammar…" For your eyes only is this