Laila was jumping around the house trying on her new dress she would be wearing for Eid, it was only a few hours before El-Eid prayer and she was filling their -usually sad- house with her young laughter, throwing her arms carelessly around her mum and drawing butterfly kisses on her father’s cheeks.
Since Gasser’s death in a bombing earlier this year, her house hasn’t experienced much of happiness. And this after all, was the first Eid without her brother, but her 6 young years couldn’t grasp the grief her parents were living in.
Her mother let her out to play with other kids in the street after several deadly trials and a few tears, but she made her promise that if she saw any tanks or heard any planes roaring, she’d head back home immediately.
Not understanding the reason her mum was that scared of planes roaring or tanks roaming around the city; Laila nodded, hugged her mum and quickly ran out through the door.
For Laila, the definition of freedom was being outside her house, laughing and playing with the other kids.. She never knew that her entire country hasn’t experienced what freedom tasted like since 1948.. And if she did, she would never understand, because the smell of death and broken homes was the norm for her. It did her no harm, as that’s all she’s been raised among. So in darkness, she sees the light, in grief, she was naturally gifted to extract smiles, and when she hears planes roaring, she’d wave at the sky.
An hour later, her mum walks out to the balcony and waves at her. Giggles fill their dark street, as roars blend in. Her mum asks her to hurry upstairs, but instead Laila spreads her arms and pretends to be a plane. The sound was too familiar, she wasn’t bothered.
Her mum runs down to the street, but she was just a few seconds late.. Laila was lying on the street, red blood stains covering her little white dress.. Her mum holds her tight, weeping and asking her not to leave yet. Laila, as innocent as a 6 year old could ever be, ignores the pain, smiles lightly and says:
“Why mum? I’m going to Gasser. I’m going to see Gasser, again. Didn’t the same thing happen to him? Why don’t you want me to go, I miss him so much.”
Silenced by her daughter’s last words, she just keeps holding her close to her chest asking God for mercy and patience. Laila puts all the strength left in her body together, raises her hand to her mother’s cheek and asks her if she wants anything, because tonight Laila was going home.
Her young soul rose to the her creator, and all the skies above turned red that night.
There are hundreds of Lailas and Gassers. And they all used to be somebody’s baby. They all mattered.