I’ve moved around a lot. I’ve lived in 4 countries and been to 5 schools during my fourteen years. I’ve never really considered any of those places home, though. The country I acknowledge as my home is Syria. The first time I went to Syria, I was only six months old and I’ve visited it every year or so. There, I was surrounded by loving family – a huge family; consisting of my Mum’s six sisters and parents – not to mention all of my cousins. Every time we went there, we’d stay at my grandma’s house: the house my mother grew up in. It was right at the very top of a tall building and it only had stairs – no elevator. I remember climbing the 300 or so steps and feeling exhausted, but knowing that every second was worth it in the end because I got to see my home again. I remember the smell of those stairs – dark and musty; but homely and comforting. Around halfway up there was a little chair – I don’t know who put it there, but that little chair was where I sat to take a break from climbing all those stairs. I’d reach the top before anyone else – I couldn’t wait to arrive and see all those friendly, smiling faces and see the furniture and smell the food and the walls and go out onto the balcony and stare out into the bright, joyful city – hearing laughter and shouts of people that were truly content. I would knock on the door as hard as I could, to make sure they could hear. My grandmother’s house was home. It was everything I ever loved. Every happy memory. Every laugh, every smile.
My heart finally shattered when I saw this picture. What once was a peaceful, joyful, growing country – is now a nothing but a grim, bloodstained battlefield. I face the facts that I will never again see those smiling faces, for now they are sunken and sallow. I will never again smell those smells – of shawarma cooking in the streets or of sausage pizza or of the dark, musty stairs – for half of those places are now in ruins. I will never again touch those fabrics, walk down those streets, hear those laughs and shouts from the streets, listen to that upbeat music that made everyone so happy. Never again will Syria be the same – how it was.
I’ve finally lost my true home.