Inicio Literary Contest Salaam- it means peace

Salaam- it means peace

By Mikayla Boorany

My eyes open. Darkness has encapsulated the room. The room – once a home to warm nights, to dreamers and vanguards; a home that held stories of venerable forefathers – has now become a fugitive to the ravishing effects of despotic war mongers. I sway my sight around every nook and niche, looking for any – even a vague- resemblement of life, but find myself wallowing in an abyss of vacancy.

Another shot fires through the air. It pierces a chink through the window shutters. Tendrils of soft light trickle toward me. Dust dances around the room. I feel an agonizing prick above my forearm. I howl as my eyes lower down. A shard of shrapnel has lodged a gash through my ashy skin.

An abandoned piece of sooty cloth rests beside me. I wrench at it and patch it around my torn skin. I want to wail. I want to caterwaul and nullify all of my wretched memories of generational cruelty and genocidal bloodshed into particles of exhaustion. I want the ligneous, wrecked floors to hold my enmity. I want to wail, but – then – the familiar lull of the ‘adan’ echos over the empire of destruction.

My village has rejected hate. Their faith amplifies through the broken city. Like a baby’s giggle, it breezes through the air, bouncing upon my subdued body. Every fragment of fear and of hurt contained in my body relaxes. I am exhausted, but the vibrations of the muezzin’s notes embrocate the affliction trapped in my body. The feeling persists, hushing my trepidations.

A beam of air floats pass me. The warmth reminds me of my quintessence; my sisters. I still can feel their mellow chuckles and their steadfast dreams – patting against the concrete walls.

The sun has now sprinkled over the shattered frame. A torn image hangs. I see Abba. I am light. My soul tingles at the sight of his grin and the velvety twinkle in his eye. The dripping tap behind me mimics the tapping of his walking stick.

I could tear the entire city down and set the empire ablaze with my cooped up hoard of desolation, but the feelings of familiarity and compassion puts me at ease. For the first time in days of waiting, I am overcome with sounds of hope and love.

Love drowns me in a state of a euphoric delirium. My arm has lost all feeling. I am not fazed. I smile. My sisters, my Abba – my Ma. I am too weak to move. I hum lullabies, proclaiming my love for them. I feel Hoda latching onto her Abba as they rummage through their escapades in the sunflower fields. My feeble bones feel their success. I am content.

My heart ticks gently, as I lower my head onto the clouds of shrapnel and annals of dust. ‘Salaam’ – it means peace and one day my village will bathe in it.

Photo of Mikayla Boorany, Author
Mikayla Boorany, Johannesburg

I am a 17 year old Muslim woman. I am a member of the PSC (Johannesburg). Additionally, I am a firm believer in the idea that all oppression is connected and therefore stand proudly as an intersectional feminist. I am adamant that a true, tangible change can only occur once we have accepted to cultivate our consciousness – by unlearning the unjust, patriarchal and colonial, ideals that have been entrenched into our minds.