I apologize for being alive

Painting by Malak Mattar

I feared I wouldn’t be able to go back to my former life after the war ended, but I did.

It felt so awkward. Everything was normal and people were acting as usual. How did I go back to my life, loaded with the guilt of being alive, of breathing?

I apologize for being alive. I apologize to the son who asked his dad to bring him some chocolate, but he got neither chocolate nor his dad. I apologize to the woman who dreamt of having her first child in two months, but a rocket stole her sweet dreams of motherhood. I apologize to the boy who wanted to see the sky, but it was the last thing he saw. I apologize to the people who went to an UNRWA school believing it was safer, a haven, but it was their graveyard. I apologize to the kids who prepared kites for summer, but never had the chance to try them out or boast about how good they're flying. I apologize to the kids who had to spend a soulless Eid, forced to stay home, deprived of joy, sweets and swings.

I apologize to the man who worked overnight to build a house for his children and then witnessed it turning into rubble.

I apologize to the girl who thought her father abandoned her when her mother couldn't be candid with her and tell her they could never find his body.

I apologize to Gaza, my love. I apologize that it must carry such a burden.

Posted July 7, 2016

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