The closet

I sit in a small, modest room with one window. Most likely the room has not been opened for a while. The dust on the wooden wardrobe beside me screams in my face, and the smell of the Naphthalene eeks from every inch of the blanket, pillow and mattress. I suffer from severe depression due to the cold weather and grey sky. There is no sun here.

In my imagination, the sun shines in Damascus above my head and squeezes my hair hard. It looks like a mature woman, and I am just a little, weak young man. I suffer from the fear associated with depression, my skin has become white because of the acute lack of light. I feel helpless even to resist the air that enters my nose like snow pins and scratches my lungs. I’m afraid. I want to hide in the closet, some darkness will give me a feeling of serenity. A white flash forces me into it, so I sit in the corner and put my head between my legs, trying to calm myself down. I was  like a volcano in a glass of water and so close to explode!

I hear voices of friends who have lost their lives. I see shadows of children playing in the alley and yelling. I hear cars’ horns,  whining, screaming, and kisses of love. Voices of my teachers at school. A young man whispering to another “I’m sick, kill me, put my body in a comfortable coffin, and keep it in my mother’s chest. I will sleep there forever.”

The picture is now foggy, the time unknown. In the room there is a red carpet, white curtains, and a small TV cabinet. I run lightly towards the courtyard of the house. It is the house where I was born. Here I can see the empty space of the house filled with circles made of colored dots. The place suddenly turns into a dark mass and a voice calls me slowly. Everything is slow, and weightless. I feel light and unbalanced, my body a piece of cork floating in a sea of sticky oil.

I remember my mother. I want to sit in her lap now. She appears from afar. I try to scream but my voice is muffled and my lips move slowly. She starts to approach me slowly. She wears her black cape, her face is sad but round and white, just like I remember. She grabs my hand and we walk together into a long hallway, arriving at  a sandy beach. The sun is shining. Children play with sand. A woman in her thirties wears a swimsuit and drinks a red juice with strawberries on the edge of the glass. I can smell the oil painted on her bronze skin.

I am now 18 years old. What brought me here? My mother moves away from me and the beach shrinks to the size of a sulfur canister. I try to stretch my hand out toward my mother, but it collides with something invisible. I keep moving away from the beach like a flying bird into space until all things are small and dark. There is no sun behind the clouds, only a solid darkness, now expanding to cover everything. I feel very heavy and everything falls down, the gravity is very intense. My heart beats like a hammer. The fear fills me now, I’m still locked in the closet. I want to sleep and hide.

In another place, away from the closet:

It is five in the morning, the clock on the wall says. The place is a small bedroom, carefully arranged. There is a bed in front of the only window. On the bed lies a 20-year-old, pale-skinned young man, in a deep sleeping mood. Sweat drops have formed on the front of his head and above his lips, the toes of his left foot move strangely. He opens his eyes and keeps them focussed toward the ceiling.


The closet begins to move, its walls fade quickly and the darkness spreads like a black ghost. I lift my head and open my eyes. An exam paper full of questions appears in front of my eyes. I read meaningless questions. I am asked to answer all of them,but I cannot remember a single word. I feel scared. I sweat: I hear voices in my head. The exam room is full of students. They all write as quickly as robots, their faces seem calm and happy. Next to me is a girl who has just finished her fifth paper and answered all the questions. I can see her beautiful handwriting. I look back at my paper. The picture is blurry as if I were watching a YouTube video in a very bad quality. I put my head on the table over the paper . I  smell it. It is odorless. I feel very sleepy. I want to sleep, but my feet are twitching and I do not know why. I feel a shiver in my little toe.

Berlin, 15.02.2015, 5:00 AM: Minus 5 degrees. Still dark. I can see the heating pipes which are hanging on the walls while I am lazily opening my eyes. The window is opened, a soft wind loaded with very cold air hits my toes. They shiver. My clothes, wet from intense sweating, paint the shape of my body on the bedcover., I feel serene, the calm here is eternal. I still have two hours before I go to German class.

I want to video-call with my mother. It has been two weeks since the last call. The day has begun.

Mustafa Al Dabbas

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