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Tuesday, December 10, 2013


    I will call her Mariam.
    She stormed the office where I was seated . With her blue jeans and her warm red top, her pony tail, her large smile and her penetrating eyes....
"How do you want your Nescafe?" was her first sentence. Before greeting. Without greeting. She set the rythm, made it clear: she's responsible of coffee and care in this very busy care center...
"With one spoon of sugar please" I found myself replying. Had no choice, no way I could refuse her suggestion. I had to have a coffee. Then she turned to my friend :What do you want to eat for breakfast? Man'ouche? okay, give me money I'll go buy it". She took the money and run.
Then she ordered us to wait until she prepares us a proper calm corner to eat.

Mark Webster, Modern Woman Abstract oil painting
    While sitting there on my chair, among so many individuals, I saw her "living". She invades life, takes it by the throat and scream: I am alive!

    Then we moved to the kitchen, her private kingdom. She invited us to sit among piles of mattresses, bags and boxes. "I bought you Man'ouche, care for a tea with it? Tea is good." No choice again. Seconds, and a hot cup of tea was replacing a yet unfinished cup of coffee, with half a Man'ouche. We were merely starting to bite our food, Mariam was already heating water to make Lebanese coffee. "Nothing beats it! I need it now! We'll have it together."

    Between a pot and a plate, between a cupboard and the sink, Mariam spoke...

"I didn't get a good night sleep. My sister was banging her head all night, while humming. I had to hold her head so she don't hurt herself." When I asked what's with her sister, she replied:" she has a mental health problem. Our mother didn't think vaccine is important."

"My brother has mental illness too... Another mistake by my mom..."
She takes care of both, and of her dad... A dad she doesn't like much apparently, by looking at her face...

    Mariam left the room to take someone's breakfast. Once alone with my friend, she told me the whole truth about Mariam... She was repeatedly abused by her father since she was 7 or 8 years old... The damage on her body was so deep, she had to remove her uterus...

    Mariam was suddenly a goddess in my eyes... A survivor, a phoenix.
She grabs life by its throat and shout: I am alive! I will be good towards my oppressor, I will take care of others mistakes, I will make sure everyone is feeling good while I'm around...And nothing is going to stop me.

Mariam disappeared again. I got busy. Then, outside, was an old man with Down Syndrome sitting on a chair, with a shy smile. He was waiting for something...
Suddenly his face lightened up, when he saw her... Mariam came, took his hand, and ordered: "Let's go!" Then she turned to me and whispered:"poor guy, he waited for me to take him home, he has no one."
She missed one detail: he has her, they have her.
Life has her, and she owns life, she owns empathy, she owns compassion, she owns the most natural way I could ever imagine.

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