On the way here, where no one lets you lean on them, no one stops to listen to you. On the cold path, I was nothing but a mother to a little boy, barely a year old. I experienced many moments that could have revealed my fragility. But they didn’t. I was so fragile that the smallest sound scared me.
I was on my own: my parents were in one place, and my husband in another. And I’m here in a strange country. I lived in a big house with four rooms and a big corridor. I chose one room for myself, and the other three rooms were naked, spreading coldness throughout the house.
Despite that, I had no desire to return to my war-ridden country. I also wasn’t optimistic about reaching my husband, and stability. I was daydreaming the whole time about trivial matters that did not exceed the walls of that house, like cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and if my thoughts did exceed the walls, it was to plan to spend time in a big market.
I spent hours busy with climbing spiders, and the landlady and her endless requests. Time went by quickly while I was busy with worthless issues that were forgotten quickly.
I hadn’t known back then that I had lost a beautiful child in the corners of that house, stubborn like a caged bird, playing alone, away from me and my thoughts. I lost a child who to me was a heavy burden. I was incapable of giving him enough of my time. If only someone could visit that big house and tell the child I lost there, that I miss him.
By Héla Ammar
A site-specific installation in Shepherd’s Bush Market commissioned for Shubbak Festival 2019.
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