Mortified Soul


Avedis Khshvajian

“What was that?” I uttered as I watched the glass of the showcase shatter into tiny atoms. I was thrown on the ground, with my mother shielding me. I was completely oblivious to why people around me were breaking down and crying; screams were heard from near-by. This store was not the only one that had been thrown into chaos; I could see shards of glass on the ground of this narrow street. The shop was evacuated, and people were running crazily: babies in diapers, grown men and women, some clothed and some nearly naked. Hundreds of people were gathered, all simultaneously shouting and panicking. My mind was about to shut off; but just then, the news broke out. There’d been an explosion in the Port of Beirut and the whole city was in ruin. I got up and was greeted with the sight of my bloody hands that had been pierced due to the glass. I couldn’t care less about my hands; they had not been there to protect my brother and grandmother, who were sitting at home, facing this traumatic disaster in solitude. These hands did not wipe the tears of my brother, did not comfort my grandmother; they were pitiful and useless. These hands were selfish and cruel, running after tangible and insignificant things like a piece of clothing chosen with the thought of how to impress people while people out there were in their least care since they were on survival mode, many fatigued and frustrated, others handicapped, and others dead... My mother called my grandmother, and after I heard what they reported, I burst out crying as I now shared the same feeling everyone felt at that moment. A sense of agony engulfed me, as I understood what it means to be afraid of people dying. Clothes don’t have any value since they can’t save you from neither the mental nor the physical loss that you might have. We rushed home and I hugged them, as I was so scared, denying facing the fact that I could have lost them. Being alive and being well, how strange that we could ever forget their value. How shameful that we desire the insignificant and be ungrateful by forgetting the significant we own. Now, every time I pass by that clothing store, I feel obliterated like the detriment of the store that day. I'm ashamed for not having been next to my grandma and brother; I feel guilty as I forgot what the essence of life is, which is being alive and being beside those who are alive and cherishing the fact of having them by my side.