A Thread of Green

Once upon a time, the spindle of memory decided to weave on the spinning wheel of nostalgia a mischievous story: a granny story.

I am used to be so serious asking for a recent photo to my grandmother. It is simply because I love feeling the ecstasy invading my cells; who suddenly stop breathing and tend to leave my body to let me travel into other worlds. Then utterly overwhelmed I sense that all my masks which I wear and have been worn are to be stripped, at once. One picture of her is enough to trigger my desire to live longer, to love keeping it as treasure of a sustained positive power.

Before the charm of her straight strong body, her affectionate eyes, her ashy hair, and her hand’s veins that dig deeper into history; I closed my eyes and escaped into her lap. Then with eagerness I remembered the smell of „delicious“* grandmothers; her unforgettable old proverbs and parables she used to tell us with all passion. The taste of shamandour**, Maghtuta**, Sialat**, Kibbi**, the garden’s grapes and cherries, the seasonal vegetables, the presents of pears or Quras** which usually reach me wherever I am.

I still recall her solemnity and how many candles she relentlessly lit for Virgin Mary four years ago, she pleaded:“ Give me my son back, you, who once lost her own“. My grandmother was never once a religious woman at all, just unlike her generation and my mother’s, she doesn’t visit the church neither steadily nor abruptly, unless there is a funeral or a wedding or in Great Friday. But at that time my uncle was abducted by his neighbors, confusing him with another doctor whose crime was treating the protesters‘ injuries. Luckily he had never been caught more than two hours. But after this family ordeal, my uncle moved to the village to open his clinic there in a desperate trial to revive his career and life out of „nothing“.

At the time of wars, dirty wars, amidst the visual concrete destruction around, one can never doubt how much moral damage can be spread among people. Just as a plague, the venomous breath of hatred suffocates the vivid breeze of spring and penetrates the every cell of consciences after hearts.

The heavy air seriously urged the need to an absolute solution or rather a salvation. At that time ISIS imposed a siege against the village. They came out of the sands of the desert, nobody not even any Radar could detect their unstoppable march, just out of nowhere! „Sadad village is in the firm grip of ISIS“, was the official announcement of the national radio and television. The lucky fellows were those who could escape before the Syrian army declaration of a retreat strategy. „What is that lucky?“, lamented my grandmother. „Is it lucky to live in defeat and homelessness or isn’t it to die in your own house, in your own garden?! “ The prayers were raised again for the Virgin, „I promise to visit all Sadad churches if it is set free“.

A 20 days later, ISIS left the village because of the courageous men of our army, or likely as many believed, because St. Elias interceded for them with God to protect the village. Whatever could be the reason, my grandmother hustled to pay her vows and clear up her nest, and so they can all live peacefully once again. However, the decision had been made to leave for Europe, what happened once can happen again! A pharmacist and a doctor are to be an easy hunt to war-merchants. So both of them accompanied with many friends packed their dreams, hopes and wounded dignity, setting off their journey into the anonymous future; simply, following their destiny in the waves of a sea known to be treacherous.

Surprisingly enough was the first reaction of my grandmother; the old woman of 83 years. „I’ve always dreamt of the day you both will cure me if I fell down sick, yet, go ahead, never look back at all“ When they left, she said:“ I’ll pray once more to live longer, just for five years, then maybe I can meet my sons once again“.

Today my grandmother is still planting the garden with her patience, watering the baby plants with her awaiting salty tears, enjoying and rejoicing herself with its harvest. She keeps on lighting her candles every night, holding tight the keys of her sons‘ houses, furnishing her home with all possible greens hoping to color her dark solitude.

With 86 years she lives utterly the instinct of living, with hope and enthusiasm.

I pray to God to protect you my tenderhearted granny and all grandmothers who are the most beautiful and inspiring women.

* „delicious“ here is the exact synonym to the Arabic metaphor used in sophisticated poetry or prose to describe intimate lovely persons.
** are traditional rural dishes in the Syrian cuisine prepared from seasonal products of cattle and land and some take long time work.

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