Category : Short Story

Rabeeha Abdurehim

Drawing from The Diary of Anne Frank, Rabeeha paints a picture of the current situation in Palestine.

Day ∞, Heaven

Dearest Kitty,
I know, I know. Since I arrived here, I have not been able to write to you or even have time to think about you. Time moves differently here in Heaven and I spend it all on doing all the things I was not allowed to do on Earth. I walk, I lay on the soft ground, I eat and eat and never get full, I play and talk to so many people who keep coming into this infinite Paradise.
So, writing in my diary was the last thing on my mind. I live in heaven now, a changed person. No longer the young girl I was. Yet I met someone recently who reminded me of you, reminded me of the days I spent hiding, scared, traumatised for simply existing. So as I lay in my favourite spot, near my favourite tree, I thought of you. And you appeared, just like I got you on June 12, 1942, on my birthday. A wave of comfort rushed through me and I decided to write to you again.
Recently, in Heaven there has been a lot of chatter and bustle, you see young kids of all ages pouring through the gates at all times. At first, I made nothing of it, but then an Angel asked me if I could make the new kids feel at home here. There were really small babies as well. The ones who can’t even walk or talk on earth. But this is Heaven so they could talk to us, get up and walk and even run. How? I don’t know. Nothing is impossible in this miracle.
So, I made my way to this baby who was giggling under the watermelon bush. The tiniest baby of them all. So small that I could fit him in the palms of my two hands. The vines of the watermelon were tickling him and he was trying to catch it in his tiny hands.
“Hello,” I said. “My name is Anne Frank. Welcome to Heaven.”
“Hi, Anne. I was not named on Earth, so I have no name.”
“Oh, So you can choose a name for yourself here. What do you want to be called?”
“No, I want to wait for my mother to give me a name when she arrives”
Now, Kitty, you don’t feel pain in Heaven. But how the baby spoke of his mother, pinched my heart. How did he die? Where are his parents? He was so small, so young to die.
“May I ask you something?” I picked the baby up so he could get a better view of the watermelons in the bush. “How did you die so young? Even before your parents could give you a name?”
“I died the day after I was born. My mom was pregnant at a time and place where she could not get access to good medical care even though she was in a hospital.”
“But don’t modern hospitals have proper medical facilities? The people I meet from your time tell me all about the wonders of human technology.”
“Oh, this was the best hospital in my city. But it was under attack by a group of people who believed they had rights over the city, and my people’s lives didn’t matter as much as the resources my land had. It was a brutal time. The nearby places were bombed so people took shelter in the hospital. As more people died and got injured, the hospital resources became less, and the attackers cut off power, water, food and medical supplies to the city.”
The baby spoke of the sounds of bombs he heard in the womb and how his mother would tremble each time, how his mother would sing through the night loudly to drown out the sounds of screams and tears. The pinch in my heart became a lump in my throat. Did humans still really think some are superior to others?
“My mother arrived at the hospital because a bomb destroyed our home, and my father along with it. I was not to be born for another 4 months. But the stress, the lack of food, and the injuries made the doctors cut open my mom soon and take me out. They said it was a miracle I was born. But I was still what they call a premature baby. Before I could even feel my mother’s skin, I was taken to intensive care.”
“It must have been very difficult for you.” I gently rocked the baby as he watched my face with a smile.
“I don’t remember the pain now. I only lived a day. The room I was kept in lost electricity. So the technology that kept me alive died. And I died along with it. When I finally woke up, I was here.”
Did you hear that, Kitty? He only lived for a day. And he died under such cruelty. I went to talk to the other kids. Everyone had a story that was worse than the one I heard before. It was like they were treated like animals, left to die a painful death. It reminded me of my people, and how we were seen and treated on earth.
The baby is still playing in the watermelon bush. Three more babies of his size have joined him, his friends from the hospital. Seeing so many children made me realize something, Kitty. We don’t have many kids here. You see, most children who come to heaven wish to be bigger, more adult in appearance.
But these children, especially the babies, refused the ability to grow up, to have legs strong enough to walk, to even explore the various parts of Heaven. Every kid who entered Heaven in the last month refused to change their age and appearance. They all said they were waiting for their families to arrive so that they could grow up together, and finally live in peace together, in Heaven.
Yours, Anne.


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