Continued from Part 1.
If Geitawi was being bombed on that April 2nd afternoon, the deeper parts of Achrafieh were being hammered. My dad’s cousin was sheltered in their friends’ house on Ebrine Street, named after my hometown, adjacent to Mar Metr Street, made famous by the Orthodox church and its fancy cemetery.
The house Simon, my dad’s cousin, was seeking refuge in was few hundred meters away from the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family convent (Sainte Famille) present on that street as well. That convent was also the school his little sister Mary attended. He was supposed to take her back home but the bombing had gotten too intense.
Simon looked around at the terrified faces around him. There were two younger girls: Rosalie and Marie-Madeleine, sitting next to their mother, who was hugging them tenderly, not allowing them to see the frightened tears frozen on her face. Her husband and his brother were sitting next to them as well.
As the rockets that were falling increased in intensity and frequency, the smell of burning cement, wood and flesh started to fill their nostrils. The mother looked at Simon. He was terrified. He was worried something had happened to his sister’s school. The mother told him he needed to take his mind off his sister for the time being. There was an underground shelter two buildings away. They had to make a run for it.
The woman felt the bombing subside a little. And soon enough, the sounds of explosions had ceased – at least for a few minutes. But it was enough for them to make a run for it.
The husband broke into a run, carrying one of his daughters, while his brother, carrying the other daughter, ran behind him. Simon followed them.
The mother got out of the door, then remembered she had forgotten all their money inside the house. She ran inside, grabbed her purse and got out of the door in a matter of seconds.
She looked in front of her. Simon was still running towards the shelter. She heard an ominous sound. The bombing had started again. A missile hit one of the buildings, meters in front of her. She looked in shocked eyes. Simon fell to the ground. She ran forward, shouting, screaming, wailing.
She reached his body. There was no way anyone who had sustained that much damage be alive. She looked around. Her husband was clutching both her daughters. Small fragments of rubble had hit them too.
But it was not the time to panic. They didn’t have time for their emotions to take the best of them. The husband handed his daughters to his brother, told him to take them to the nearest hospital that would take them in. He grabbed Simon’s body and broke into a run, destination: Saint George’s Hospital.