Cold. Cold down to my bones. Three pairs of socks, layers of clothes later—still cold in my dark basement. Back pain has traveled down into my leg, but I walk to the home of a friend with a fireplace–must get warm.
A fireplace is a treasure in Moadamiya. Gathering wood is really risky, because the woods of Moadamiya are right under Fourth Division scopes. So people burn anything instead—plastic bottles, bags. Heat is worth the fumes. Besides, after surviving Sarin gas, what’s a little bit of fumes, right?
Family and friends huddle around the fire, about a dozen of us, kids and adults, men and women. (And if the extremist armed Islamists in other parts of Syria don’t like that, they can kiss my ass. Moadamiya hasn’t had to deal with them up close, so far—and I think their presence is exaggerated in the media. A lot of guys look Islamist, but aren’t. Long beards are just easier than shaving.)
My stomach is empty, the coffee is mostly water, but my spirit is full of blessings. We have so many wins to count. We have won the knowledge of how brave Syrians are, a whole generation of us. We have won ourselves.
Never mind the regime tanks, and the shelling (twice today). Shelling is boring. Barca’s chances, that’s the buzz around the fire. Real Madrid sucks! Go, Barca! The next game is super important. Will players keep the faith?