sugar mountain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 11, 2016

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Submitted: March 11, 2016

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"drrrdrrdrrrr..

War, huh yeah..

What is it good for?

Ab. . ."

My brother's phone had rung before he answered, "Hello!"

". . ."

"Really?!"

". . ."

"Does he look like him?"

". . ."

"Okay, goodbye. We're coming."

My brother hung up and told me to get dressed because we were going to the hospital. The caller informed him that we had a baby brother.

"Did they name him after our father?"

I asked.

After a short pause he answered, "Yes."

It wasn't a surprise to me that my younger brother was named after my deceased father. That was the best way to remind my family of my loving father, but for me it wasn't.

I have loved my father for all of my life but when his memory passes in front of my eyes it keeps rewinding only the last seconds of his life over and over again.

We were on the street going home. I was holding in my hand a new ball that he'd bought for me. He was walking next to me when he said that I could be anything I wanted.

From about a hundred meters we saw a group of gunmen of one of the two fighting sides of the civil war in front of our house. My father told me that we will stay at a friend's house nearby until the gunmen are gone. He held my hand and walked in the other direction of the gunmen. But when we turned our back to them we saw another group of gunmen. The second group was fighting for the other side of the fighting parties in this war. 

It was a duel between two ravenous foes and we were in the middle. They wouldn't wait for us until we find a shelter. They started shooting. My father and I were the net of a ping pong table, and the game was on.

The difference was that the both conflicting groups didn't hit balls at each other. Besides, it wasn't a game.

My father tried to protect me with his body but he didn't know from what side bullets might hit me.

We were both hit but only one was killed.

Several bullets passed through his body. He fell dead on the asphalt. I also fell as a bullet hit my left knee. I screamed out of pain but the sound of shooting was so loud that I couldn't even hear my own voice.

I wasn't able to move. I just involuntarily stayed on the ground watching my father's blood creeping toward me.

I will remember that moment every day now after my baby brother was named after my father.

I tried to remember the good memories but I couldn't. It's like having a mountain of sugar but there were mites on that mountain. You can remove the mites and enjoy the sweetness of sugar but I've never found a way to do that.

"Are you ready?"

My brother asked.

"Let's go!"

My mother was at a nearby hospital which was about 700 meters far from home so we just walked our way. The streets were very quiet.

We were at the hospital after exactly 30 minutes from the call. I even checked how long it took us to get to the hospital. "At what time exactly did they call you?" I asked my brother.

"I don't know. Let me check." He responded.

He checked the recent calls log and said, "4:14"

"And what's the time now?"

I acquired again.

"4:43. But why are you asking such a question?!"

He asked.

I just shrugged even though I knew the answer. I was counting the seconds from the moment we left home. I needed a way to distract me from overthinking about the consequences of naming my young brother after my father.

The number of seconds I counted = 848

The hospital was busy, mostly with wounded people. Not fighters, just normal people like my father was. The smell of iodine made me feel a bit dizzy so I tried to rush my way to the room where my mother had given birth in but I was still slow because I was only hoping on my right leg.

After two or three minutes we were in the room. There were my mother and my sister with her husband, and of course, the newest addition to the family.

My little brother was too young and fragile for me to carry. I just gently kissed his red cheek while my sister was holding him.

I saw some tears in my mother's eyes. I couldn't fathom if it was because she'd remembered her husband or because she was happy. But I guess she cried for the two reasons. She was sad, but her sadness couldn't stop her from being happy once again, at least for a while. I too, felt that way.

Mites started to run down the sugar mountain.

"I think we should take a group picture for all of us."

My sister suggested. Everyone accepted except Mom. She had something to say.

"It wouldn't be 'all of us' without your father."

She nostalgically had objected to my sister's suggestion before she continued, "There is a big picture of him at home."

"I will go and get it."

My brother volunteered.

I went with him.

I didn't count the seconds on our way back home.

My brother waited on the street fifteen meters away from home when I went inside to bring the picture. There were many pictures of my father that I could have chosen from but I took the biggest. That picture was taken at my sister's wedding. He was wearing a black suit with a white shirt and no tie. He didn't like wearing ties. He'd always said that ties are not necessary to look gentle. He was right, at least in his case.

I took the picture and went outside. The sun was about to fade behind the horizon.

I walked down the four steps of our porch. My brother was looking at me with his phone in his hand and I was looking at a pickup truck with a gatling gun installed on the cargo area.

Mites quickly reached the top of the sugar mountain.

My brother didn't run.

There were many fighters shooting without even aiming at the enemy. A grenade fell close to my brother and exploded. We both fell. I couldn't stand up because my left knee was hurting me again but I was conscious and was able to crawl. Few meters away, my brother was just staying still under the dying light of the sun, not moving, not even for an inch.

My mother's wish of a family reunion seemed possible to achieve at that moment, but not through bringing my father back to life but through the death of the remaining members of the family.

My brother's phone fell four or five meters away from him. It rang.

"drrrdrrdrrrr..

War, huh yeah..

What is it good for?

. . .

My brother didn't answer.

No one did.


© Copyright 2017 Abdullah Abu Snaineh . All rights reserved.

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