I closed my eyes and placed my right hand on my erratically beating heart, and then I made a wish for a second. Please shower us with snow. This was my nightly ritual before going to sleep. Most of the time, I do not have a complete sleep, because of the gnawing fear that gunmen might shoot and kill my mother and sister. In the morning, I was a jolly kid playing with the untidy neighborhood kids, yelling towards the sun. We artistically built anything from the sand like magnificent castles, mountains and houses, and drew faces of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, neighbors and long guns. But I loved most the buildings, trains, airplanes and of course, snow that I have never seen.
Oftentimes, classes were cancelled because of the war. There was always war, especially in nearby areas on the way to school. I would spend time with my friends at the seashore in front of our house, so that I can check my mother and sister every now and then, and help them with the house chores if need be. My father was already long dead. He was tortured by soldiers who suspected him of being a communist. But they suspected every able-bodied male of being with the communist group. My father was a fisherman. He was a loving father who did nothing but labor all day to put food on the table for the family.
As far as I can remember, I have always had this wish to have snow in my community. My ritual started after watching a foreign movie on our neighbor’s Betamax, where the place was all in white. I was awed to see white particles falling down amazingly like rain but not quite. Amidst this white background, children and families were happily sharing gifts and warm smiles and hugs without fear of losing someone from ugly and surprising instances. Thus it came to my understanding that surely both soldiers and rebels would love snow, and that it would cleanse their minds and hearts. I even had the vision of these men hugging each other and exchanging warm smiles and other friendly gestures. How I wish Christmas would stay all year round.
One Christmas night, I asked my mother if the sun would disappear forever from my sight. I had this feeling that the sun is watching us like a mystic God, giving me and my friends’ wonderful creative hands and minds in building castles and drawing building, trains and airplanes – but at a price. All these in exchange for fearful and sleepless nights. My mother replied, “But you love your castles and your drawings. I will never let the sun go away.” She added softly above a whisper, “I love you, my son.” And with the hopeful heart of a little boy, I replied “I hope it is Christmas every day.” I closed my eyes and placed my right hand on my heart, and then I made a wish for a second. Please shower us with snow.