Which war?

There was war in Kosovo and I was in first grade.
There was war, but I didn’t know.
I never heard that word at home.
Yet our people died.
My grandfather died in those days and other relatives of mine.
My mother lost a part of herself forever.
And I didn’t notice anything.

There was war in my country and yet my life continued.
I went to school and training.
I used to play in the park with my classmates.
I used to watch cartoons, do my homework and who knows what I dreamed of becoming.
Maybe the astronaut or maybe a footballer.

There was war, but I didn’t know it.
My parents watched the news secretly.
They talked in a low voice with their relatives.
They were hiding everything from me.
They didn’t show the pain that was destroying them.

Then the war ended and we returned to Kosovo.
We entered a house I didn’t know about.
There was my grandmother, uncle, aunt, and my cousins.
My grandfather wasn’t there.
Maybe he is gone somewhere, I thought.
But then everyone began to cry and I understood.
I didn’t ask for anything because I immediately understood what had happened.
I had seen the damages the war had done after we got off the plane.
I had seen the houses destroyed by the flames, the marks of the bullets on the buildings, the streets full of holes, the faces of the people.
I was seeing the war now.
Now that it was over.

There had been war and I hadn’t noticed it.
Now that room full of people seemed to be the emptiest place that existed.
The walls were completely white and empty.
The furniture was ugly.
The people were sad.
No one laughed.
The smell of death was still there.
There had been war and it had ruined our lives, but I hadn’t noticed.

There had been war and I hadn’t seen my parents suffer.
They had hidden everything.
They had not shown the slightest pain.
Then I understood how much they loved me.
I told myself that I should have done the same with the people I loved.
I should have only shown them the happy part and never the sad part.
I should have never told them how much I was suffering.
I understood that that way I would have only made them feel bad too and I would have never forgiven myself.

There had been war and my parents had kept it all inside.
They had unwittingly taught me how to handle pain.
Crying inside.
To always show the smile.
Not asking for help.
To say that everything is fine.
There was war, but I didn’t know it.

Gezim Qadraku.

(Wikiwand Images)

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