Continued from Part 2.
Saint George’s Hospital was packed. Simon’s mom looked at the multitude of strangers in front of her. They were all in agony. The mothers that had lost sons, the wives that had lost husbands…
She was asked to come down to the hospital. She didn’t know why but she felt it was odd that her sons hadn’t come back home yet. But for all she knew, they were hiding out at some relative’s house.
On her way there, she had heard how her brother-in-law’s son, my uncle John, was hit and taken to the Geitawi hospital. She knew his condition wasn’t severe. But why was she in Saint George’s hospital?
She looked around. Strangers. There wasn’t any face she recognized. And somehow, she couldn’t even connect to their pain. So she sat there, in the waiting room, waiting for God knows what.
But then she noticed the whispers. Why were the people there looking at her through sad eyes, breathing out worried words she couldn’t comprehend with their tired mouths.
And suddenly she felt there was something she didn’t know. And she started to get worried. Her sons hadn’t gotten home. Her oldest son, George, had gone to get his sister from school. Her son Simon had supposedly also gone to do the same thing.
Why weren’t they back yet? They should have been back when she left the house. Something must have happened to them…
And like every concerned mother, her train of thought took her from being in a relatively comfortable state to a mental wreck.
One of the doctors ran in front of her. She stood up and shouted “take me to your morgue”.
The doctor stopped in his tracks. He turned around and looked at her. “My sons are in your morgue. I need to see my sons”.
The doctor didn’t have time for an over-worried mother. Odds are nothing had happened to her sons. He asked her where she’s from. She answered. He looked at the nurse questionably and she signaled to him that there was indeed someone from that village in the morgue. The doctor nodded and ushered the woman to follow him.
They entered a cold room. There were bodies everywhere. Some were covered in white clothes, others were left as is. The effort had to be placed elsewhere in times like these.
She walked behind the doctor. Her heart beating out of her chest. It wasn’t nervousness as much as it was fear. She didn’t want any of the thoughts in her mind to be true and yet, she was sure they were.
The doctor reached a body. She looked at it but didn’t want to see. She got closer and looked at his face… her son… and a piece of her was ripped. Without even feeling it, she was holding his body, caressing the beard she had told him to shave over and over again… but she loved that beard. That beard was part of her. That face was part of her. That mind was hers. But they were no more. Her son lay there… the mindless, soulless body that remained of her Simon.
“Where’s George?” she breathed through the tears. “Where’s my son?”
“I’m afraid this is the only body of someone from your village that we have received today” the doctor answered in a low voice.
The door of the morgue opened. The woman looked at who just entered. Her son George was running forward toward her. He embraced her and she cried into his chest.
News of Simon’s death spread like wildfire to his hometown Ebrine, in the Batroun Caza, in North Lebanon. The funeral was quickly arranged. He was to be the first person to be buried in the newly built family cemetery. The bombing had lessened as the cars made their way on the long road up to the village. They passed by the first checkpoint of a certain political party. Then they passed by another checkpoint for some foreign army. Then they passed by a second checkpoint of another political party, then of that some foreign army. And as they got to their village, another political party, made up of people from their village, had the audacity to ask them why they had decided to visit their home suddenly.
Simon had died. He was buried on April 4th. But the wound of his death still haunts his mother to this day.