PS: This post is long, so don’t start something if you can’t finish, I’ve divided it into 2 posts but will be published at the same time.
Please don’t read unless you really want to read.
Part 1 – The Lonely Bird
Lonely child, sobbing and crying and no one there to wipe their tears, feeling that this world is too big, too cruel, too dark, the people are feral in a very big jungle looking for a prey, roaring, growling, howling…
I lived with these feelings for years; I always felt like a bird with no wings, I have no one to look after me, no one to understand me, to take care of me.
The reasons are not important, no one to be blamed, just describing this feeling and I was a miserable child that tried hard to belong, to fit, to cherish life despite everything.
I mentioned the war before and I mentioned that we were displaced and we left everything behind! At the time I only wanted my dolls! I had many dolls, and I was afraid to break them I took very good care of them. (Check flashback posts)
I was a proud little child, strong personality; anyone could tell at the time despite how little I was, my mother used to design and sew special clothes for me and my brothers, she was talented and she wanted us to be special.
My mother used to give my clothes to the less fortunate after I wear them 2 times max.
One day I’m wearing special clothes, living in a perfect house, like a princess, we even had electric blankets, collection of gold lighters, many other stuff that I hardly remember!
Next day, we wake up, we leave everything behind we don’t take even a straw, because as my father said, we will be back, it will be for a short time.
Next day, we’re poor, displaced, and have nothing at all!
Next day, we have to take clothes from the more fortunate…
Next day, we’re refugees in our own country! Paying for a shitty house in a shitty place, even though you don’t suppose to pay! But the war is on and everyone is applying their own rules now. If you have a gun or Kalashnikov, you can do whatever you want!
We lived in a place that doesn’t have the minimal requirements for human beings, from a big bed and a big house, to sleeping on the floor or a sofa as rigid as the floor!
The rats are the only domestic animals we’re allowed to have and oh the mice as well! Instead of counting sheep, I used to count the mice walking in front of me, on this piece of metal on the wall that separate us from the small shop of candies and chocolate and chips we visit daily! I wonder what he has in this cabinet above the shop, which is the one behind the metal bar…I needed to keep my mind distracted, I couldn’t sleep! And I was like: Lucky mice!
The sanitary sewer manhole covers are underneath the beds in the only bedroom we have! What a perfect location!
So each time they’re blocked, which is every now and then since we live in the ground floor and we receive the entire neighbors’ shit, we need to dismantle the beds, move everything outside so they can unblock them, it was a great adventure, it smells great!
The rats used to come out from the toilet, seat-less toilet, just a hole in the floor: lamentable “hole” type of toilet, you enter the toilet and you stay terrified that a rat might come out, no wonder we had constipation 😂😂
The douche was a luxury back then, it doesn’t exist we use a small bowl to have a shower…
But despite, we always tried to be children, to play and be happy, we used the empty metal milk containers with spoons as a drummer, we used the thrown extra wood pieces to build toys, we didn’t have much toys, so we were creative. We even made kites and flied them in the crowded streets of Beirut.
We even remember many things and we laugh, like when we caught my little brother, that was born there in Beirut, chasing a rat! He thought it’s a cat 😂😂 It’s good we left before he grew up; otherwise we would have had some wide collection!
Obviously we were not used to live in such place, especially that after the displacement immediately, we moved to a healthy area, a good place that I love so much: Brummana in mount Lebanon but again we had to leave because of the Syrian shrapnel and bombs!
After they received the blessings to enter Lebanon under the pretext of stopping the war, the Syrians were bombarding different areas in order to invade and conquer them! Many were killed in the process.
I still remember when they told me that Maguy has died! I was a little child, she was a young woman. The bomb removed her head (sorry for this ugly picture) but I still imagine it until now, this sweet girl that was so kind and loving, is now headless! 😟
I had nightmares! I was a very sensitive child and each word used to be as a knife in my heart!
If my brothers make jokes, if my mother or my father are a bit firm, if something happened…I’m so sensitive and when they mock me, I just abstain from revealing what I feel, so I was alone, when I used to hear the very low military airplanes flying, I used to cry and be terrified, I thought that we’re going to die…my brothers used to laugh, because there were Lebanese airplanes doing some military exercises and even though my mother told me, I was always afraid, the voice is still in my head. I used to close my ears and cry out loud. I thought I was going to die.
Until this date, whenever I hear an airplane voice, I have bad dreams but I always face my fears, I don’t let them beat me and I don’t tell anyone about them either.
In Brummana, instead of playing with dolls, I was playing with the Shrapnel we used to find every day in our closet, all over the house, outside at the balcony, I always wondered how they are inside our house and closet and we still alive!
They were black, or silver, each one has a different shape and form, I used to collect them as a reminder that “you missed us bastards” we’re alive and you’re useless!
We always tried to have a normal childhood, our parents did their best but they were suffering too.
Probably I blamed them at some point while growing up, but not anymore, I’m reconciled with myself and I’m grateful for everything I went through, even when they didn’t know how to deal with me as a sensitive child, I don’t blame anyone anymore, I’m good.
Leaving Brummana was a disaster for us, we were always sick, pale and sad, so the solution was an internal school because nothing else to be done.
My mother asked us and we said okay no problem, she said you’ll come home each week, not like other children who stay months and maybe years.
She wanted to save us from this place; she was already depressed and started to take antidepressant medications.
First year in the internal school was hell for me, a very very far school, my brothers were in another area (where I was supposed to be but my papers were wrongly approved to another place).
It wasn’t easy to be accepted because our parents are there, they usually put orphans in internal schools, so my parents had a hard time to get this approved, we needed a “Wasta” = nepotism to be dragged away from our parents, we needed to beg so we can be placed in an internal school away from home. The bitter truth and the irony!
I was away from home with strangers, mostly unkind strangers; I was afraid, sad and miserable. And they couldn’t bring me home each week as promised because I wasn’t supposed to go there, so far and we had no car.
The weather was great and convenient to my physical health, but the behavior and environment wasn’t convenient for my mental health.
Kfardebian is where I was, beautiful place but it’s not home. Healthy and beautiful nature, but cold and rude people!
Stay tuned for part 2. It will be published shortly!
Click here for part 2:
Your thoughts and opinions are always welcome. 🙂
Huguette Antoun – April 10th 2019