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The Terrorist’s Daughter (Preface)

 

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I sit in my window seat, as others board the plane. Outside my window the sun is just about to rise upon Sri Lanka.  I fall deep into thought.  I feel selfish for leaving her behind to live my dream. “She will understand,” I think to myself. Because she knows me too well. Because, she knows nobody loves her like I do. I’ve seen her on her good days and her bad.  She knows I can read her mind. She knows I can see the pain she tries to hide.

She may wake up every morning, and put on a fresh brave face. She may hide her scars in the wild and tears in the rain. But she hasn’t forgotten that, not too long ago, her children threw bombs on her, and slaughtered each other in a 28 year war. The ghosts of war still surround her and they come out every now and then. They bring out ignorance and evil. Even now, sometimes, despite all that’s been said and done, her children disobey her. But she will forgive them, because they are all her children. She will love them no less.

I’m born to her on a quiet day in 1993. She loves me and I fall in love with her right back.  She makes me the woman that I am. She teaches me to be patient, even when the bombs made our worlds crumble down. She keeps me safe through the bullets and fire, and when the smoke and rubble are cleared, she lets me go. The selfless mother.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s too late for her sanity. If she’s gone too far and there’s no coming back.  Sometimes I wonder whether it is her fault that her children took guns to their hands.  I wonder if I will ever forget the haunting memories of blood and half-mast flags. I wonder if the answer is to stay as far away as I can from her. I think about a happy comfortable future, away from her, in America or somewhere in Europe, maybe. With a beautiful family, and a six figure salary. I dream; maybe that’s the answer.

As the flight takes off from Bandaranaike airport, I look outside from my window seat and see a beautiful stretch of green land surrounded by a bright turquoise blue. The sun shines on it like a diamond. I think to myself, “It’s like saying goodbye to God.” I stare at her for a minute, mesmerized. As she disappears into the clouds, I wipe my tears. I sit back on my seat, close my eyes and take a deep breath.

And I just know: I’m coming back to her, no matter what.

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