My babies are crying, or whining in harsh voices. Not a single drop of tear come out.
My husband is killed back in Somali, our home. That lovely country is now ruined by war and chaos. My children and myself are now on a fishing boat to Yemen. It has ran out of fuel four days ago, as well as food and water.
“How far are we still from Yemen?” I croak to the smuggler who is controlling the boat. This tiny fishing raft is overcrowded with people, but it is dead silent. Because everyone is too hungry and thirsty to make a sound or move an inch.
“Just be quiet and wait, ‘armala (widow),” the smuggler snaps gruffly. Trying to not explode, I turn back and try to comfort my babies. He has a handgun and is the only one who knows how to operate boats.
However, my kids won’t stop whining and coughing in pain. The Sun is burning over this sea without any cover, as though as trying to roast us. My sweat sizzles as it drops on the hot, dirty fishing boat.
“If you don’t stop your alkallab (dogs) from making sound right now,” the smuggler yells at me,”or I will throw them into the ocean!”
“It’s not your job to define what my children are!” I snarl at him, hugging my babies tighter. They groan slightly in pain, but I don’t notice, only bringing them closer to me.
“Talk to me like that, and you will have a bullethole in your head!”
“I talk how I want to!”
He suddenly springs up, kicks everyone in his way and comes in front of me. He snatches away my smallest kid, and raises her up high. She is only 8 months old, a cute girl with huge eyes that seem to shine. Now the gorgeous eyes are full with fear.
The remaining 80 people on this fishing boat immediately swarm as far as possible away from the smuggler. The boat creaks and heavily slants over to one side, water leaks in from gaps and holes. I throw out my arm and grab the side of the boat.
Then it happens.
I can see his muscle tighten, then my poor girl is soaring in the air. She splashes down on her adorable face. Water glitters under the sunshine.
I don’t have time to react, then my second child is launched into water. That splash literally breaks my heart.
I want to save them. I want to jump off the raft and bring them back.
With only one though in my mind- Save my children– I leap into the sea. I cannot swim, but my loose guntino creates some buoyancy for me. I try desperately to keep my head above the surface of water as well as move forward. It only makes things worse.
My head is half sunk, switching back and forth from air and water. My lips sting when they contact with the salty sea. Bitterness spreads in my mouth, flowing into my heart.
My children are soaked in water. With their mouth wide open, deadly water fills their lungs within seconds. They never struggle, perhaps too hungry to, or are they relieved to die?
I can feel their pain. It is tearing my soul apart.
I hear the almuhrab, or the smuggler, pray to Allah and beg for his forgiveness of what he has done. Yaqta’ ‘omrak! I curse (it means something like may God kill you in English) silently.
I see my kids sinking down, towards the bottom of the ocean. Bubbles are coming out of their mouths. Some strands of fish swim in different directions underneath us. Shades of that fishing raft fall on my body; that’s when I finally felt the chillness of seawater. It is indeed a fascinating view. I could feel my body filling up with water.
That’s the last thing I know.