feels as though the plane is slowly inching towards the
snow capped mountains surrounding the city. Taunting me.
can see them now. I look up at the dull screen, the white
airplane figure on a map of the world. So very far away
from home, from my kids, approaching what looks to be
a spinning circle as a pinpoint final destination on the
screen. A spinning chaotic senseless circle.
nausea is setting in quite heavily and I look away from
the screen, blaming it on the amount of Turkish cheese
I've consumed on various airplanes over the last two days.
I look back out the window at the silent vastness of brown
ripples, rock, and dusted white mountains, wondering what
hides there, what awaits as the shadow of the massive
metal plane unfittingly descends.
nausea won't disappear and a cheesy Bett Middler song
lingers in my mind... "From a distance, theeeeeeere
is harmony". I think about that line. How it could
be referring to my life. The loveliness of my Facebook
profile, smiling faces with picturesque backgrounds. I
wonder if the sudden need for introspection is a sign
of something terrible. I brush the thought off quickly
and resume my mountain-gazing in the hopes of some calm
meditation to slow my heart rate.
I arrive at the Canadian Embassy, there is little to see
of the gorgeous mountains I didn't admire enough from
the plane. The thick air, razor-wired fences, and sniper
screens hover over me like a crumbled brick wall of a
prison. Unsteadily holding you in. I step over a red stream
of animal blood, oozing from the Afghan guards` shack,
as they prepare their lunch, their hands dripping, casually
separating parts, and looking away from my stare as I
prepared to smile. Clearly uncomfortable with my confident
eyes I pull the scarf tighter around my forehead.
later I awaken with a boom and rumble that they told me
I would unmistakably recognize if the timing coincided
with my short visit. And so it had. Alarms,and movement
and metal followed, and I was somehow expecting every
sound as it flooded the thick Kabul air outside the modified
shipping container that was my temporary home away from
sat, radio in hand, waiting for either instructions of
some kind or perhaps something to come through the makeshift
wall falsely shielding me from whatever wrath lingered
beyond the sniper screens that surrounded me.
sat, cowardly wondering what those armed outside were
doing to ensure us unarmed civilians were safe. Accustomed
to the dangers, noises and chaos. Expecting bullets, explosions,
blood. Eventually, we emerged from our eggshelled habitats,
like newborn chicks, rustled feather, cautiously stepping
forward with shakey legs, becoming quickly readapted with
every movement with what this place was offering us.
few Afghans I would speak to within the walls amazed me.
Stories of lost brothers, and horrible husbands, all discretely
told matter-of-factly, simple and heartwrenching, smiling
at the end. The ex-pats working and living and eating
and sleeping in some false version of Kabul were like
children at summer camp. Roughing it without some simple
comforts. Annoyingly but lovingly surrounded by each other
constantly. Tolerating one-another like family members
with no choice. Huddling through the rumbles together.
man had blown himself up that morning. He wore a vest,
walked up the street 750 meters from our compound, and
detonated the explosives he had on his body, which was
instantly blown apart, mangled with ball bearings, in
various directions in the hopes of causing death and injury
to some judge residing in a nearby home.
judge was uninjured. More blood on the streets, walls,
people. I would return to Kabul later that year. Conveniently
forgetting some elements of my last visit. Gazing out
the window, wishing the routing in from Delhi was as beautiful
as the last one from Istanbul so the mountains could show
me a little glimpse of the heartbreaking passion I had
found there before. But I never felt it again. I was numb.
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