You were sitting on your favorite chair when you discovered the news. A friend of yours told you what’d happened there. The border. It was just a matter of time until the assault started to crush the sacred land again, everyone knew that. Schools, hospitals, restaurants had become one with the ground. And from the ashes of those buildings, a father’s scream rose and deeply reached your ears.
It had been a nightmare on the border. Rockets, bombs, grenades, were common things to be found. Although the assault had occurred as long as the history might record, it had been the most intense upheaval. You knew that from the news. Television, newspaper, the internet, they all informed the same thing. The border had been so quiet before the attack occurred. For a place that had endured so much anger for a long time, it’d been out of its habit. No rockets, bombs, or grenades. In fact, aid from other countries had been allowed to enter the border. For once, at least people in the border had been able to set their worries aside for a moment. Yes, only for a moment, before the ground exploded.
But somehow you heard another story. Not about how the assault had aggravated the relationship between the two nations in the border, or how the people in the border had tried to defend themselves with everything they had. A phone call. That was what you had. You were told that near the incursion, there was a building where a Father had tried to keep his five children safe. But safety was no longer recognizable for them since a tank had miss-launched its missile to the building. The attack had crushed the building in an instant. Walls had been torn down, exposing the Father and his children to the raging skies.
The Father and the children were perceived to be a resistant group that had hidden in that building. One of the troops had seen a man carrying a rifle on top of the building. And that was why they attacked the building. “He lost his daughters”, that was what your friend said when you asked about what happened to the Father’s children. You said nothing. Your mouth was too stiff and your mind was too scattered to even think as if you have lost the ability to give a command to your own body.
Most of the world heard of the assault but only a few people knew the catastrophe that had befallen the Father. One of them was you. You knew that the Father had been preparing dinner with the help of his daughter and his two sons, while the other two daughters had been in their rooms studying.
You knew that when the Father had gone to call his two daughters out for dinner, he had heard a blast. A very loud blast that had made his eardrums stopped working for a moment. What the Father had seen around him was only dust. He felt as if he had been chocked. It was really hard to breathe. He looked around and found that his children were still beside him. The boys had been lying on the floor, terrified. His daughter had been unconscious, with a shard of glasses found on her back, breathing. Ignoring his trembling feet and his shaken hands, the Father had to check his other daughters. That was when your grip on the phone became tighter because the Father’s scream brought you to the deepest place inside your heart. Your mind couldn’t even recreate the moment when the father kneeled, embracing his two daughters that had been taken away from him.
Of course, you were not there witnessing the horrible event. You lived miles away from where the actual incident took place and you only heard it from a phone call from your friend. But you knew. Your wife knew. Your children knew. And the rest of the world would too, eventually.
Your favorite chair was not comfortable anymore after you heard the news. You found your heart beating unsteadily and your brain boiling. “That man is my friend. He helped me when I first arrived in the border. It’s my turn to help him. And I’m trying to get all the help I can gather. Any kind of help. I would really appreciate it. Medical support, financial support, anything.” You thought about what your friend said on the phone.
Your friend heard nothing on the other end of the buzzing line. For a moment, he thought you had hung up on him. You then said that you were sorry with a raspy voice, and then you hung up. Your eyes were suddenly warm.
There was a void inside your chest. A large void that had no end. You didn’t know what to do so you rode your bike and left the house to clear your mind. Outside, you could see demonstrators marching on the road, cursing the act of evil occurred in the border. They demanded the authority to act soon, following the recent event.
Some people also gathered to collect charity to be sent to the border. “Your small share of wealth for their safety, sir” a man offered you a box filled with money. The voice of your friend appeared one more time in your head. You looked at your wallet but there was nothing inside. You then only threw a smile to the man. He smiled back and said, “May God always protect you.” You thanked him and walked away.
You heard the muezzin called for prayer and you went to the masjid on the way home. You hoped that your mind would be cleared after you established the prayer.
“You know, it’s also our responsibility to help the people in the border. They are our brothers and sisters as well.” Long before the incident, your friend always encouraged you to help the people in the border. But you never thought that your help would be significant. It’s the authority job to make things right. A citizen like you could not make a huge change.
A group of people gathered and held a meeting outside of the masjid. Apparently, it was a group of volunteers that had arranged a humanitarian aid to be sent to the border. One of them came to you, asking if you were able to help them. You asked the man what help you could give to the border. “You can donate some of your money, sir. Or you can also go with some of us there to be a volunteer.”
It’s not that you didn’t want to go to help, everyone knew that. You had a wife and three children. You could not just leave them. You had to provide and feed them. Your work at the office wouldn’t finish itself while you were gone. Instead of giving excuses to the man, you just threw a smile and touch the man’s shoulder and said that young men like them should be much of a help on the border than an old man like you. He smiled back and said, “May God always protect you.” You thanked him and then started your bike engine.
When you arrived home, your wife had prepared a dinner for you and your children. You ate together at the table and went to bed an hour later. Your wife asked why you looked off.
Your wife could always notice whenever you had problems. She said that she could tell it from your eyes. Your eyes were sharp when you were focused and loose when you were restless. You said to her that she didn’t have to worry.
Your thoughts were everywhere. That was what actually happened. You just didn’t want your wife to lecture you on how you should act. You didn’t want that. You just wanted to clear your mind from the image of the miss-launched tank missile aimed to the Father’s shelter. You looked to your right and saw your wife’s face as she slept. You just could not imagine what would happen to you had the missile been aimed at your house. And even before you closed your eyes, you could still hear what your friend said on the phone. His voice was like your own voice. “Any kind of help would be appreciated”.
You then remembered a preacher once said that supplication is a powerful tool. It has the power to shape people’s desperation to hope, to change the already written destiny to something that He decides best for them. Your friend’s voice was slowly disappeared. Now it was the preacher’s voice that occupies your mind: supplication is a powerful tool. The words became one with your mind and then manifested in your mouth. You raised your hand and murmured something only you would understand. A moment later, you took a deep breath and went to a long, deep sleep.