These days are days of remembering. As I work each night on my Yemeni Journey book, it seems impossible to write my past without living it again, at least a little.
At least feel the sting of tears behind closed lids as I say goodbye to my father, sisters, and brother, some of them for the last time.
At least feel the rapid beat of my heart like the wings of a caged bird against my ribcage as I crouch in the cold reception area of the Sana’a airport, wondering if we will be allowed in, or not.
At least feel the exultation brought upon by a chorus of adhaans in the predawn darkness in a strange land, knowing that home lay with me, in me, now.
At least taste the triumph of shared conversation in a language I was not born with, a connection, finally, made.
At least feel the loss of the children, so many, many children, tucked under mountain sands in a village known as a place of crossroads.
At least smell that new baby smell that fades so fast, and feel the closeness of nights spent, walking, singing, rocking, a time never to be replaced or relived, only remembered.
At least feel the frustration of letters left unanswered, goodbyes never said, not once, but twice, as two people I loved, who had helped to shape, form and support me since I was born, slipped away thousands of miles away, behind walls of silence.
At least smell again the crisp, early morning, sunwashed air washing around me as I walk to classes, reciting
over and over in my head, the lessons learned for that day.
At least hear again the voices of my teachers, young and old, sharing knowledge and understanding that lit me up from the inside out, starting a fire that has yet to cool.
At least feel again the tug, the pull, the ripping apart as I watch my fair haired baby, a man now, choose his own path and begin to walk it, away from me.
At least taste the metallic bitterness of fear on my tongue as bombs drop, and the running slap, slap, of sandals past the door are followed by shots. So very many shots.
So many new paths to follow, so many old ones sealed. So many ways to remember, so many ways to tell.
Now to find the words and share the tale, insh’Allaah.