Worlds Apart

Seemingly out of no where
Bombs shatter the illusion of peace and unity
on that teardrop shaped island that I was born in.

And I fear that it reveals the decade past as merely
an extended pause between
the violent screams for power.

I email a friend and ask “Are you ok?”
She responds with brevity
“Thanks for asking. Yes we are safe.
Hope your family here are too?
What a tragic turn of events.”

And I wonder, what is really safe?
What is ok?
Perhaps tragic is the only way to encompass
a country
diving headlong back into chaos.

I don’t really recall what it’s like to live
with the thousand little ways
a society at war with itself
can instill fear and stifle life.

It’s one thing to hear the stories.

Last time I was back,
visiting an Aunt’s home town in the north
listening to how she could tell by the sound
if a missile was headed for her district
or merely traveling overhead,
carrying its death load further on.

Or how one day her neighbour
was dragged from her home,
child crying in her arms.
Hearing rapid gunfire and then a more terrible silence
I imagine that silence was thick with fear.
That of the Peacekeepers tasked with holding a fragile ceasefire
Landed on foreign soil, unsure who was friend and who was foe.
So even babies were no longer allowed their innocence.
And the fear of the streets remaining inhabitants
covering in their homes, wondering
Will they be next?

While back in the South staying with a friend’s Mother.
Hearing her tale of good fortune
When one Saturday morning
the force of a bomb blast down the road
dropped a ceiling fan on her daughter’s bed
Her child, my friend, saved
by having slept at friends place that weekend.

So many troubled stories.
No one is untouched by the dark hand of war
when it is waged
across your home soil.

It’s one thing to hear the stories.
It’s another to have lived those stories.
I didn’t have to experience them and
keep on living in that same place.

So does it matter that I reached out, checked in
and made sure they were safe?
Trying to make sense of the sorrow that fills me.
Trying to fill the distance across oceans
and lives grown apart.
Because then I can go back to my peaceful life.
Free to go out where and when I want
No curfew for me to have contend with.
While they…

Well what would I really know?

One thought on “Worlds Apart

  1. Dear Dinali Thanks for sharing, though I’m a long time reading. So sad, living with war, or living in fear of it. I’m glad you reached out to your friend in Sri Lanka when more somebody blasted more bombs.

    I have a Jewish friend whose fear is raised every time more Jewish people are targeted around the world, like the attacks in Philadelphia last year.

    Thanks for writing and posting Love Monica

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