I was born to Live


I woke up from birdsong. Today the sun is shining as never before. I enjoyed this day. A knock on the door, and a soft voice of mother behind the door said: “Get up, it's time for you to get ready.” A minute passed and mother said: “My dear, do you remember today is your Birthday?” She came into the room, came up to me and kissed me on the cheeks and said: “You are my life, every day I thank God that you are with us. We are waiting for you in the kitchen."

Today is my birthday. 7 years ago appeared the long-awaited little girl in the family of Muhammedi. My parents originally come from Syria but we live in Paris. My name is Khalida,  which is translated from Arabic meaning "immortal". Eternal Khalida calls me dad. Enjoying the life I considered myself very happy until I hadn't tasted the bitter life. I went down and found my favorite honey cake expecting me on the table. Father asked me what gift I wanted.  Without conceiving long I replied I wanted to spend the day with them. We decided to go to the Stade de France area. As we’d left the house, dad realized that he forgot his money. He decided to return home but my mom insisted that this return is nothing but a bad omen. Father smiled and returned home for the money. While walking we sang our favorite song “Don’t worry be happy”. People were looking at us probably thinking that we were crazy but we continued. The station where decided to take a train was crowded. Mom looked at her watch and said that it was already 14:00 and the train arrived. Suddenly the picture I was in was splashed with a dark mass of paint that would never be elicited. I did not know what happened. People were screaming and running different directions in chaos. The sounds stunned me and father suddenly leaned onto myself and covered me with his body. He fell down on me while deafening whistles and pops filled the station with unbearable fall of real hell. "It was hard, I screamed but he couldn't hear me. It stopped. I looked at my arm, and it was bleeding. That was the first time I saw blood of my own.  I eyed at my other side and saw my mother, lying motionless without answering my question. I didn't understand what happened. I got up and started screaming "Mom, get up" Daddy, I'm afraid!” I looked around and was startled to see about 30 people lying without life signs. I didn’t want to believe this. I wanted to wake up from this hell nightmare. I tried to pinch myself to wake up like I used to do while falling down from the Eiffel Tower in a nightmare, but it sadly didn’t work. I lay down to clasp my mother tight close to myself and wanted never to let her go. “Khalida!” said my father’s hoarse voice from behind. I quickly turned back to him and his look squeezed my heart so bad. He was bleeding everywhere. I still can feel the same way when I look back at that moment, at that horrible scene.

He pulled me down to himself by my hand to whisper in my ear: “My precious Khalida, always remember you are immortal. You are eternity. Keep this in mind. We will always be together… in our hearts.” He spoke no more word. The moment of silence was broken when a group policiers intruded rapidly and one of them snatched out of my father’s hug. He asked: "Is he your parent?” I could not speak out. I repeated only these words" Mom, Dad, I'm afraid.” The policemen took document from my Father. Then he took my hand and led me out of the station to his car. He seated me in the backseat and started the car. He was driving and I didn’t even ask where he was taking me. In just 10 minutes we arrived at sooner-appeared-to-be the police station. We went into the building and I felt as if I woke up from my real nightmare for a moment as I saw the officers walking in fuss about the office. The policier said that I should sit down at the table wait in his room until he came. I looked at him and said, "My parents were alive, weren’t they?" He said that he did not know exactly but would definitely tell me if I sat still there and wait. He left. My eyes were filled with tears I wondered what happened with my parents. I remembered my Mom’s words saying: “God’s with us and if you need help, he will help you”. I prayed for my parents. I asked God not to leave me alone in this tough life. I looked out the window. It was already dark. I was looking forward to the moment when I could hug my parents tight again. The policier opened the door and gave me such a pathetic look. Tears rolled down his face. I asked where my parents were. He said: “I should be quite honest with you about the whole thing but I am not at all sure you will like it.” I did not say a single word. I looked away and started reducing in tears. I understood that my parents died. He was silent for a long time and then at last spoke out and said: “I want to tell you a legend. Are you ready to listen? I answered: “Yes.”

A boy lost his parents. He did not want to live but then the boy realized that his parents are always with him. When problems appear, in a few days they are solved. He went to a famous fortune teller and she said to him: “Do you want to see your parents? Just go outside in the evening and look up. Stars are your parents. You shall notice that they are always with you even if you are in different city or even a country. Stars never change. They are always close.

Every evening he would meet with his parents and tell them all his feelings and sometimes he cried. After he came home he felt easier in his soul.

He finished telling the story and looked at me and said I was lucky not to die with my parents. I didn’t want to believe this. My parents were not coming back.

He sat down at his desk and said: “Now it’s time for you to go back to your Motherland." I was surprised. I asked: “Motherland?” He answered: “Yes. Tomorrow you will go to Syria. I had a ray of shock pass through my stomach. I said: “It is not my hometown. It is not true. I won’t go there. No, no I'm not going anywhere. The policeman said: “Sorry.”

I fell down on the floor and began to weep. I, Khalid who felt happy, the girl who grew up with loving parents, lost my whole world in a moment. Is this the life I was to live through? Isn't this just a bad dream? I must wake up...

Mother... You're far away ... You left so suddenly ... There, where the world is completely different ... There is no me... I do not believe and in the silence I whisper to you: “Please, come back. I don’t want to live without you.” Mom never returned. I screamed for my mother non-stop.

He took me by the hand and said: “I’ll take you to my flat tonight.” We arrived at an area with huge many-storied houses and buildings. We entered a large ten- story building. He opened the door and a woman ran out from a room to meet us. She immediately started shouting in anger: “Why have you brought the terrorist here. I warned you so many times you should not do this. What if she kills our children? I will not let her come in. You're Muslim. You are an enemy of people. Go away! The policier took me out to the street. He said that he could settle me in orphanage next day and I could sleep in his car. I said nothing and sat behind bars… So was over my birthday – end of life. My desire was death would come for me and take me to my parents. I spent the night in the sea of my own tears. When at last I had no tears to cry my eyes gave up and I suddenly closed my eyes. I dreamed for some moment. I dreamed of a falcon surfing the air as if it searched for its loved ones. But suddenly a heavy storm sweeping everything on its way swallowed the falcon. And I woke up of fast heart beat and sweat all over my body. It was dawn.

In the morning he drove me to an orphanage. Women wearing hijab met us at the gate and one of them led me inside the house. I did not stay there long.

Because much longer trip was awaiting me as I was put in a car and driven to the airport with some women and children. All the way they talked to me in an unknown language. That's how I ended up on the territory of Turkey. From the airport we were picked up by an old car. It drove us on a long drive. I got awfully tired and hungry, but I could not ask for some food to chew. The car stopped for some time so that everyone could stretch their arms and legs for a while. The place was vast and wide, horizon stretched out without limit and the wind blew every inch of my body. I wanted to stay there forever, as time was frozen over there and nothing else mattered. My mind was as clear as a blank paper. I breathed deeply hungry for air, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Suddenly the wind blew away the handkerchief I was holding and chased it to catch. It took me a moment to catch it and I heard one of the women call me: “Ou, kuçuk kız!” which probably meant “Hey, little girl!” Running up to the car I heard an explosion. It was a deafening explosion. Then a man ran up to me and then I woke up among packages of dirty things. This is a day I will remember forever, it was very cold and I was hungry. I asked people who were passing by me where I was. But no one answered. Wandering about the place I found myself in front of a beautiful but destroyed mosque. The voice that came from the heart pushed me to go inside and I thought it was a good omen. I entered the mosque and remembered the words of my Mother “God is always among us and if you need help you need to ask him and he will help”. I sat down and started to cry myself out. My inner drama was storming inside out. “God if you exist, please give me a chance to enjoy affection of my parents again.” I have never felt this way, I was starving, and my clothes were torn and soaked every dirt and mud in the world. Being under my parents wings and always taken care of, I had never thought of getting into such despair. I wiped my tears away and went out to ask for a piece of bread out of starving. There were not many people on the streets in that place, only men with guns on foot and by cars, and some rare women dressed in black paranja. I saw no children. I asked for bread from a woman. Thank god, she was kind and handed me a piece of flat fried bread. It was one of the best days in my life. I held the bread, felt its unforgettable smell and could feel my stomach rolling out of its place convulsing each second. It melt down as I chewed each piece very quickly as if someone else would come and snatch it away from me. It was getting dark and cold. I had to find a place to sleep. The woman was too kind. She didn’t speak much. She just grabbed my hand and took me to her abode which was also destroyed, but she and her children were staying in a tent. They were 6 in the family, mother and her 5 children. They were happy to meet me. They are so happy to have mother. Tears rolled up in my eyes, and I went out and watched the sky full of stars. Two stars were shining so brightly and for a moment seemed to me that they were winking to me. I enjoyed that moment much. Over the last few days I had experienced a lot. “Mom? Is it you? Dad?" I did not believe my eyes. “Dad , Mama you came for me. I am ready to go along with you to where you are now.” We sat down and dad said: my immortal girl, Khalid. You have to live. God preserved you double life. You were sent by God to this life to help people. Remember this.”

Back in the tent children and their mother were sleeping cuddling each other to stay warm. I also lay down next to them. I felt a bit of relief. I woke up and found nobody in bed. I remembered all the words that my dad said to me. I realized that I had to live for the sake of my killed parents and at least for people. Walking out from the tent I heard one of the girls sing a song in English. I approached to her and asked whether she could understand me. She answered, she could speak very little English. That was wonderful news for me. I could at last communicate after a month of being silent. I asked her to teach me some Arabic. I did not only learn the language but also found best friend. Her name was Aisha. She was 4 years older than me. She told that children who lived in the area were dreaming about school. She showed me the old school which was bombed, and half of it was ruined. We decided to repair a room which was more or less valid. Aisha said her father was a really good builder. He used to build houses before terrorists kidnapped him. We decided to take his tools.

I never held construction tools in my hands. As we’d tried we couldn't do any repairs. So we had to engage elder people and surprisingly they reacted positively and helped us with a great pleasure.

It was the first day of my new life. Strange was the fact that I woke up not from the sounds of weapons, but of Aisha’s nice English songs. This morning was filled with happiness and anxiety. All the way Aisha was silent and then she broke it saying: “Khalid, maybe you are an Angel?” I smiled and didn't say anything. She hugged me hard and said: “You're the person who appeared at the very moment when I felt bad. I thought that I would not be happy, but you brought joy into my life. God sent you to me.” I just said: “I love you my best friend”. We went to school. I thought that 5 or 8 people would come, but I didn't expect the room to be filled with children looking at us with their happy eyes.

Then teachers could come and teach us.

Time passed so fast. I had celebrated my 5th birthday since I started new life. One day I came early to the school and saw a boy who was sitting and drawing. I approached him and saw that he was crying. He was drawing a woman.

Looking at me, he got afraid and wiped his tears away. I asked: “what's your name and why are you crying?” He looked at me and said: “My name is Islam.

It is my mom. He let his eyes down and said: “She is in captivity. She's not coming back ever. Father constantly says that she must be soon killed.” My eyes were filled with tears, he hugged me and repeated: “She will die soon.” I comforted him. Eyes are the mirror of the soul. In his eyes I saw so much pain he had gone through. But his words didn't give me peace. I was thinking how I could help. The next day, I decided to tell Aisha that I wanted to help Islam.

She immediately said that it was impossible even to try. It was so dangerous that we could be easily killed. I decided that I would be able to help despite the fact that I could die. I did not know how but my first thought was to gather all women. We discussed the matter for a long time but could not find the way out. So we decided to write a letter to the UN. A lot of people said I couldn't do it.

Though, I did.

Time passed, but there was no answer in return. Winter came. I did not manage this issue. I decided to go to my favorite place. “Hello, River. I haven’t come to see you for a long time. Today I again came to you with tears. I forced people to believe me and that's what I did, but I failed. I sat there contemplating nostalgically for a long time and did not notice that it got dark, the wind became stronger, and I noticed figures that water was reflecting. I looked up and saw the two stars: “Mum, Dad, I miss you.”

I went back home. I immediately fell asleep. I woke up in the morning from the strange car alarms. I was scared, watched out of the window and could not believe my own eyes. I ran outside and saw Islam hugging his mom. I thought to myself that something miraculous was going on. The UN were able to liberate Syria from terrorists. A man came up to me and said: “Hello, Khalida. I am a representative of United Nations. Do you want go back to your hometown?”

10 years in Syria with my second family were crucial part of my life, both tragic and happy. It taught me the tough lessons of life and survival. I learnt how to make this world better.

Returning to my hometown where i was born and lost my parents, I remembered the time when I was kicked out of this country, when I was lonely and did not want to live. When I was passing the house where we used to live, I saw a woman who was so similar to my Mom. I thought that I finally I woke up. I cried of happiness: “Mom, Mom!” And suddenly woke up and found my granddaughter sitting on my bed side. “I am waiting for you. Happy birthday, tette Khalid. Happy 72nd birthday.”

My name is Khalid, Eternal Khalid as called me my dad. I lost my parents very early. After experiencing several attacks I stayed alive. I am a favorite mom of my children, grandchildren and wife of my husband. Miracle is this life. We only live once in this world. Regardless of our nations, we are people. We want peace and happiness in the world. I wish the hardships I went through none of you. Let us reevaluate our purpose in this life, live in peace and harmony.