Desert Rose

It was a July evening, the entire city was sleeping. It had been eight days since the city went off the grid. Deserted roads, barricades and total shutdown. Curfew in this chaotic land was a sign of relief. Aisha was restless. She was constantly looking through her bedroom window thinking if she could make it there. With every clock tick, her heart skipped a beat. She had to reach that penthouse in the next lane anyhow. Taking over her anxiety finally, she stepped towards the main gate. Reaching the first checkpoint eased her anxiety. It was an abandoned school that got a hidden passage across the lanes. As she moved down the staircase, fragments of joyful past started to flash in her mind. She was dancing in a half closed room with the person she loves, moving their feet with the same rhythm when fireworks were all anyone could hear. They used to sit on the deserted top of a wrecked building, drenching in drizzle and gazing at the stars; she used to tell him how big of a mess she was as a child and how circumstances changed her, how meeting him changed her. The twinkle in her eyes always made him smile. He longed for a vacation with her to their country home away from all her troubles. Siren from the patrolling jeeps disrupted Aisha’s thoughts and got her back on her mission. She took her silent steps carefully through the hidden passage. Backup plans in case of a capture started surfacing in her mind. With a few unexpected detours, finally she arrived at the penthouse. An old woman was lying down on the bed half alive. Aisha had been nursing her for a while now since Rehan died. She lost her son a month ago in an air strike. Aisha hopes to bring her back from the coma and take her to the country home which Rehan had promised her.

The Civil war ended in Syria just three and half weeks ago.
Love can always find its way amidst hunger, bloodshed, violence, even death.

fable by Gulnaz Ahmad