The only thing she knows now: it is not safe to cry. Holding on her only strategy but here, in this old photograph you cannot see that in her eyes, not in this image taken way back when, before experience and grief robbed her of innocence and hope. Looking at that image now you say “Is that really her?” and yes it is. “But she looks so gentle there, like another women altogether.” I nod my head because you’ve said it all
Taken before the world tore at her soul, when she thought her future blessed with love and children who might run along the beach . Taken at that tender age, when plans existed but not experience, before war shredded her native land, taking what she loved beyond her reach leaving those same eyes, but altered now, to view a kind of hell where only the wise and foolish dare to peek.
She did not know, as we do not, the stirring of those tectonic plates which move the social landscape of our times. Could not guess that boy who smiled at her, known as gentle in the community is now a thousand miles away preaching martyrdom and hatred to other men altered, as is he. Lost in the excitement of some appalling vision. A sweet relief, he feels, from material mediocrity, or so he thinks. What does he know?
This same women, now a mother, knows he is too young, as she was then, to understand it is the small stuff which holds the secret of a life, longing as he is, to engage with elements of destiny and faith: this young boy, her son, seduced by evil dressed up as nobility: a holy cause he feels, a dream of cleansing a world he thinks rotted by its its greed.
His eyes are full of certainty and hate, leaving this women, his mother, now lost in the knowledge that this boy, her son, cannot hear her now, and dreams only of martyrdom and faith. She hides in her solitude, lost for words, unable to explain, how her sweet boy, who left her home to study medicine, learnt only how to kill without remorse, and seek for brotherhood where laughter is a sin.