She looked out the window, alarmed by the rattling of the gate. A cloud of dust edged towards the trees. The branches swayed apprehensively, scaring the birds away from their nests. But the sand kept moving, indifferent to the destruction it brought to her home’s garden.
How do you stay aloof like the sand? In a world that is swept by violence?
Her fingers drew warmth from the window pane as her thoughts grew colder. A sudden clamor coming from behind startled her. Her children were back.
The youngest one wobbled over to hug her legs as the others grabbed her hand and relayed the highlights of their outing. She glanced down at her smallest infant, who looked back up at her with expectant eyes waiting to be picked up.
All those sad families. Mothers who lost their children to war. Fathers whose sons were tortured. Brothers and sisters who fled their motherland, not knowing when, or even if, they will see each other again. How are they living? What is there to live for when you’ve lost everything you love?
“Mama,” he implored, reaching up for her arms.
She picked him up and held him with the sadness of a mourning mother.
I am so sorry.
Placing his tiny fingers against the window, she pressed her hand gently over his.
I am a traitor.
I betrayed your innocence by bringing you into this world.
All the pleasure she wanted to feel from this picture of content failed to surface. There was nothing left but guilt.
Feel the warmth, my child.
She closed her eyes.
Feel the fires we started that you must put out one day. Feel the wind that will blow against you, the sand that will pollute your eyes and mouth. Feel the smoothness of our protected lives and realize it is not real, that it is as fragile as the glass we now touch. Feel the pressure of my hand on yours, the weight of the burden I am handing over to you. A burden that will crush you, a burden you never asked for. Feel the truths we saw, but could not fix. The visions we wanted, but could not build. Feel it all and forgive my treason. I am sorry.