The First Day
by Najoud Ensaff
May had never seen the sun.
‘It disappeared after the first explosion,’ her grandmother said. ‘A huge mushroom cloud grew above us; its dust fell down from the sky one piece at a time.’ She cast her eyes down. ‘To this day, I can still see it- that blanket of dust. I was indoors, the heat so intense my face blistered as sure as if my skin had been fried.’
May looked up at her grandmother; the scarred skin and vacant eyes stared ahead.
‘That blast took the light away.’
She nodded and stroked her grandmother’s hair. ‘Took more than that,’ May said.
‘That it did. Why your Grandpa, he was a fine man. Head and shoulders above any other. That man was all heart, and your ma…’
A tear traced its way down her cheek.
‘Out of doors when it happened-he and your ma getting into that rust bucket. I’d just waved ‘em off and, you, you were just a baby in my arms.’
She sighed. ‘Forty years, May. It’s been forty years- of darkness and cold, and now this.’
She smiled serenely.
‘I can feel the warmth again May, and God willing, now, your darkness will end.’
‘Ah Grandma, I wish you could see it,’ May said taking hold of her grandmother’s hand, but just as she did, it slipped from hers, and those vacant eyes slid shut.
May looked at the light in the sky, and back at her grandmother. ‘Now our darkness has ended,’ she said.