I love Iraq. I don’t want to live anywhere else. Everyone I love is here: my granny, my aunt, my uncle, all my family and friends. Everyone we know and love is going away, my friends Nazaline and Aya and Hayat, the school bus drivers. My friend Taqa’s dad went to Syria, my friend Nour’s uncle to Egypt. The most important thing in my life, besides my mother and family, are my friends. Nour and Zeinab are my best friends now. In my class, we used to have three rows of desks, 10 in each row. Now we have two rows, with just five girls in each row.
…..My husband distanced himself from me for a month after I was kidnapped and my mother still blames me for ruining the family. I open my eyes. I see the gun by my bed. My husband and I no longer talk, nor do we laugh together. We worry someone will attack us. I used to watch out of the window and feel alive. Now I make sure my face is hidden by the curtain. I look with longing at the street that was alive once upon a time.