It all started on a stormy and cold night in December.
The phone rang noisily and harshly, interrupting my sleep and my heart beats. My blood froze in my veins. “The moment had come!” I said to myself.
I jumped out of bed gasping for air, trying to walk steadily. I felt my legs wobbling vigorously under my heavy weight. “What happened to my sturdy legs?”, I thought to myself.
The inevitable had happened. It was the phone call that changed my entire life. It triggered every sensory nerve in my body. A phone call that marked and reshaped my character and future.
I held the phone in my trembling hands and asked, “Who is it?” How stupid I was at that moment. I definitely knew who was on the other side of the line. “Mom…. Mom…..Speak up…. Get it over with!!” I said to myself… “Say, it, come on…!
I muttered. “Your father had passed away!” she mumbled unclearly. I dropped on the couch like a pebble in a pond. “My father had passed away! My father had passed away!” I kept on repeating this statement to myself aimlessly.
The one thing I knew well that this incident had shook me deeply! It triggered all the feelings, emotions, passions that are embedded in my soul. Feelings that were hidden deep inside me that surprisingly I thought never existed before.
The “Strong, smart girl”, I am or was, as my dad often said, disappeared and vanished in a moment.
I started questioning myself, “Who am I? Do I know?” “I felt that the smart strong girl “Didn’t exist anymore or maybe never did. My mask slipped off and smashed into pieces as it hit the floor.
“Who am I?” I asked myself again and again.
Am I the same spoiled and materialistic snobbish girl who only worried about surviving the civil war with the least possible losses? I was mainly concerned about our car, large house, furniture, paintings and decorations that my parents chose with ultimate care and interest.
“Dad! Dad!” I ‘m not the strong smart girl… I have deceived you! Your love to me was blindfolded by your perception.
I gathered my body parts and stood upright. I stood motionless but excited.
“Excited?!” What do you mean, Amal?” I thought. “My dad has just passed away and I’m excited?” “Stop it!” I said it loudly and firmly to myself.
But how was I to suppress those tremendous feelings swaying back and forth in me?
A new identity was born. I can see, visualize and sense my new me, my future me.
I looked around fearing someone will sense the excitement in me, or the glow in my eyes.
“God?! What is happening to me?” I whispered to myself. I looked around me at the things that I used to adore deem very precious to me… They looked so small, so tiny, so trivial. They looked colorless and tasteless.
Everything around me now became of no value.
I shook my head vigorously, asking myself, “Amal, is that you?” You have everything you cherished around you, everything you spent your silly superficial life worried about losing. Here you are Amal, standing in the middle of the room holding the receiver in your hand, surrounded by everything, but without the most important thing--DAD!!
His death- and life- were key in shaping my life. “My God!” I shouted, “I am a new person now….I am a person with deep feelings, emotions…”
I am a human who empathizes and sympathizes with others. I am a new person who sees the real value of my existence.
That phone call, on the stormy cold night in December had reshaped me into a person who understands life in depth, accepts and tolerates differences, is responsible and above all an empathetic person.