We sat around and talked while keeping a sharp eye out on the tv for the latest news on the offensive in Sirte and Bani Walid.The news bulletins kept us on the edge of our seats at times , others we were ready to throw things at the tv. As we talked the conversation moved , as it seems to do these days , to our individual war experiences. We were divided into groups of : those of us who stayed the entire war here in Libya, to those of us that stayed for just part of the war ,moving to another country until the rebels/ freedom fighters came to Tripoli. Some of us live outside of Libya , so their stories, while different from most of ours, they were no less traumatic.But we all had a story.
As more relatives arrived the furniture had to be moved around to accommodate a larger sitting plan.My sister in law had picked up a large wooden table to move. Since it was entirely too heavy for her to lift alone , it slipped from her hands and crashed to the marble floor with a loud bang.In that instant you could tell which ones of us had lived abroad, which ones of us had stayed for part of the war , and which ones of us had stayed the entire war .The ones who lived abroad said: WOW .The ones who stayed for part of the war jumped and looked around . The others like Moe and I that had stayed the entire war screamed and jumped , terrified that somehow we were under attack as irrational as that seemed.
On the way home , we got caught up in a road block were the guys manning it were in a celebratory mood.They were firing off round after round of missiles and bullets from guns until the air was fogged with smoke.We were close to the actions . It was intimidatingly frightening as it was the first time in 7 months Moe and I had been out of the Condo after dark #1, and #2 all those bullets have to come down somewhere and we were way too close for comfort.This went on for about 5 minutes that seemed like an hour to us as we waited . I am so glade I wasn't driving .Our niece that was in the car with us was totally stressed out from it as she had already been caught in a gun battle once before during the war in a car.It brought back scary memories for her and her dad who was our driver.
I had thought that I was ok . That our experiences from the war were mild. I realized this wasn't the case once we had arrived home and I had time to reflect on the days activities. Thinking back, I realized that I had become nervous when the front door of my brother in laws house was left open. The door was only a few meters from the outer door in the wall that surrounds the property. Way too close to just leave open like that where anyone could walk in freely. The incident with the falling table , the drive home after dark , and the open door. I guess it will take time to recover .
Painting by : Tilly Strauss , " Easter Greetings".