Coming back home almost cost him his life.
I was pushed to a difficult and adventurous day by a promise I made to my classmates to accept their invitation before the war started. I didn’t know why they invited me and insisted that I come despite the war that started from the neighborhood I live in ,Shamlan, in the events if September 2014.
I went after trying many times to convince my family to let me go to my friends. After trying really hard they agreed on the condition that I keep my promise that I won’t go through the road where the battles and clashes are but instead go from the ones with no clashes. And indeed I set out from our house at 2 pm. I walked to the 50 meters road that was closest to our house. The hours of wait for a car to hitchhike ,due to the lack of transportation vehicles from 50 meters street to Aser street, began. And after waiting for nearly 2 hours with my phone ringing with calls from my family and friends to check on me; a car came carrying luggage of people fleeing from the hell of the war that started. They felt pitty for me, so they let me ride the car as any hitchhiker waiting for a car without paying a fee. When we reached my destination we saw life as if nothing was happening which was completely the opposite to the place where I came from.
I reached after the Afternoon prayer (about 4pm) to the house of the friend who invited me. Surprisingly, the whole group of my friends from highschool were gathered there to celebrate that I was the top student in the exams in our highschool. I tried to forget the anxiousness and stress and tried to enjoy the joyful environment in the party with my incredible friends until sunset. Then I decided to leave and go back home. So when I reached the “Aser roundabout” I got up on the “Madhbah” buses that were ,due to the war, few in numbers compared to the normal days. And when I reached the “Madhbah” bridge the looks of loneliness started. The streets were completely dark, the shops were closed, nobody was outside except for some cars. The bus brought me near the public prosecuter office then I got up with a cab driver to take me to the “Shamlan roundabout”, and there were the moments I’ll never forget. The sounds of heavy gunshots, pitch-black darkness, and no bikes to take me to my house which was incredibly far away.
I stood not knowing what to do in one of the roundabout corners, waiting and shaking from fear so much because I felt that my end would be in those moments. Suddenly, a military car showed up with some soldiers; Some soldiers jumped out of it and made a new checkpoint. In front of the corner ,I was standing near, was a bakery that I used to buy bread from with the workers still in there, as I knew later, they were closing the door on themselves in fear of the battles. In that moment the sounds of gunshots became louder between the two fighting sides. My heart beats increased. And then I saw some bullets piercing the bakery door. Suddenly, the gunshots stopped and a motorbike quickly came in front of me dimming it’s light. The driver saw my signs and heard my voice which made him pitty me. Therefore, he quickly took me with him to my house. I was really grateful to this man because he got me out of that difficult situation that made me think that my end was near. I reached my home, and my family started asking about how was the whole situation so I told them that I was fine and told them of the hardships of the road. The next morning one of my neighbors told me that one of the workers at the bakery died from stray gunshots. I really felt bad for him and I thanked god that he gave me a new life after the misery of that night that will never be forgotten.
Yousef Mohammed Bishr. 20 years old