Happy New Year, from San‘a

[This post was sent to us by a special guest contributor, Fatima Noman. Fatima is 16 years old, and lives in San‘a. This is her third post for the Mafraj Blog.] The thing is when I close my eyes tighter، I hear them louder. Shutting down one sense only clarifies another. The speed of light is a thousand times faster than the speed of sound, the only thing faster than that is the rate at which my heart beats. 9 months later and nothing has changed; my mouth dangles and my eyes widen, enlarge and I taste the end, not of this coalition; but of my life. My life that seems to have been ephemeral and now is burdened be.

Looking back on how much I've grown, the only visible difference is how any sound whether cars passing by, motorcycles approaching my neighborhood or one of my siblings slamming the door too fast or strutting harshly in the second floor -or third or fourth-, scares me and makes me tremble to my feet. I've grown accustomed to my realm of vulnerability.

They say there have been over ten thousand air raids on Yemen, I've seen every memory of the past 16 years flash before my eyes at least ten thousand times. With every air raid I remember my mother's warm embrace at 6 and my father's loving arms at 8. My sister's advice at 13 and my brother's fights on daily basis. The last time I laughed till my stomach hurt and cried tears of joy. I then remember God and sometimes think; how bad can it be under his arms, it can't possibly be scarier than here?

With every unannounced burst of light I regret every fight with my dad and argument with my mom. I remorse every time I discarded my sister and boycotted my brother for his "nuisance". As much as that illuminance of light terrifies me, it reminds me how blessed I was and am and will be. Yes, will be; I won't die. I refuse to die, not in their hands. I will live to be 80 and I will make memories enough to heal all the scars made since the 26th of March. I will heal and I will blossom.

Everything seems minuscule and diminutive when compared to death. Your existence, your hopes, your aspirations. You can never really submit to death and accept it, we know it accompanies us wherever we go. Yet we never act like it's tangible we deem it as an "imaginary friend". A friend we only address when we meet face to face. Once we leave its residence, we go back to disregarding it. Whether its a blessing or a curse to become so resilient to death, I'll never know. But for the time being I will dispose the thought of death because I know a burst of light propelled towards me from a jet miles away will not be the death of me. I refuse it to be.

And as 2015 comes to an end I have never been happier to end a chapter in my life. 2015 has been by far the hardest year of my life. Looking back at it, I hit so many milestones and I've reached my highest and lowest points all in the course of 365 days. It's crazy how much one year can do. I met some of the greatest, most inspirational people this year, and for that I am eternally grateful. I was privileged to witness a coalition attack my country first hand whilst having no valid reason to attack. I can't wait to have children one day and tell them all about this year, the longest most fruitful and vain year ever. I can't wait to speak about 2015 in past tense.

Happy New Year