I approach the window in a dark room; there are no curtains to block my eyes from seeing you. I quickly notice you playing in the garden with a group of different kids. You are wearing blue pants and a striped shirt; it is different clothing than you used to wear. I can see you grinning with delight as you enjoy your exotic surroundings. I’m happy for you, but I want you to glance up at the window and spot me staring at you lovingly.
“Look up here,” I say quietly, but silence is the only answer to my request. Why is it so hard for your eyes to see me? Though the sunlight shines on my skin every day, yet my room is still too dark for you to see. Look at this brown skin; don’t you recall the cocoa basket we gathered from the tree? Or the baskets we filled with coffee beans? We used to meet in the afternoons under a jacaranda tree, collecting the brown harvest to make sweet chocolate and delicious buna.
Look at these ink, long curls in my head—can’t you recognize the sinuous paths we took to be free? Corpses hurled in our path, and the stench of blood made us dizzy, but we continued bravely, holding hands. Remember the troops who fought like dark knights on the independence bridge so that you could flutter across this garden like a butterfly.
I tear up as I see your pupils meeting the window I am sitting by, but your gaze shifts to the grass. I am caged in this dusty, black room and you are free, but lost. Lost in a different world, lost from where you belong. I am sure that without me you have lost your identity; I am you and you are me. So please, look at me.
Smoke & Mirrors with Nura Ahmed Faloul
Interviewed by Jemimah Wei
What is the first thing you remember feeling really strongly that you wanted to write, and why?
While I was writing this piece, I remember feeling strongly to keep on writing stories and document my thoughts and feelings, even for few readers to read. This piece motivates me to keep writing.
In most flash stories, there is a central idea or feeling. What is that for you, in this piece?
The central idea of this piece is the changes an immigrant writer experiences in their surroundings as he/she keeps writing, no matter the circumstances, to keep their story and memories alive. It is about how a writer prints their feelings and whole heart on a piece of paper for the readers to enjoy and judge.
Nura Ahmed Faloul is an Eritrean girl who found joy and hope in writing. I like to give some readers a different experience and perspective of things through writing.