luggage left unattended in airport

I remember the message that played over the airport intercom system: “Please do not leave your luggage unattended.”

He was only in the security checkpoint line a minute. He looked to his left and right, then dropped the heavy backpack off his shoulder and walked away.

My prayer was that he was only going to the bathroom, that he would turn and ask me to watch his things so he wouldn’t lose his place in line, that he was just a student flying home for the holiday.

Others saw him walk out the front entrance and started screaming, “Bomb! Bomb!”—running for the doors. Amid the scurrying feet, a child fell to his knees in front of the backpack, began playing with the shiny zipper. My first instinct was to scoop him into my arms, shield him with my body as the blast hurled us toward the wall . . .

We pray for the victims, their families when tragedy strikes, but when we are made victims ourselves, how do we survive?

I am deaf in one ear, and he won’t stop crying. Maybe he can’t hear himself either, struggling to comprehend . . .

His mother is likely dead; everyone is gone, buried underneath a town of rubble. It’s just the two of us now. We walk the Meuse in search of refuge. My body is numb in the frigid waters. It’s better this way. Not to feel the pain. Not to know that an innocent child can be blown to pieces for simply taking interest in something shiny. Not to realize that I live in a world consumed by hate.

© 2016 Nortina Simmons

5 thoughts on “Survival

  1. PJ is right. This is such a powerful piece. Heart breaking too. Really puts you in the place of a person having lived through an act of terror at the scene of the act. Horrible and very pertinent.

    Liked by 1 person

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