Red African soil. Heatwave scorches through the land of this ancient continent, stifling, unabated, the incessant result of calefaction. Red and gold specs of sand dust twirling in mid-air, transported on the waves of rotating fans from the ceilings of this old dilapidated building where she works, dancing their exhaustion away. Flat lines on the monitors. Another lost patient, third in one day. She loses track of the causes: malaria, tuberculosis, cholera. And the newest one – coronavirus. Life in its rawest form. So much death, yet she can’t leave.
Every saved life is an unsung symphony of the heart, solace to her soul. One moment of elusive attention and she feels a life gliding through her fingers; all those years ago when she was an intern. They say the first loss is the hardest but it doesn’t get easier, really. She knows it’s an illusion one imposes on oneself to make it possible to get up in the morning as nights are haunted by lives unsaved. After the breaking point what seems like a lifetime ago now, the yearning for a land she knew nothing about was incomprehensible. Same as the laterite of red African soil calls for patient cultivation, her tormented soul longs for atonement but both need time.
One day she might forgive herself but until then, she’ll continue answering her hiraeth.
Andrea Damic, born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She's an amateur photographer and author of fiction and poetry. She writes at night when everyone is asleep; when she lacks words to express herself, she uses photography to speak for her. Her literary art appears in Spillwords, Door Is A Jar, The Dribble Drabble Review, Five on the Fifth, Roi Fainéant Press, Your Impossible Voice, The Elpis Letters, and elsewhere. She spends many an hour fiddling around with her website 'Words and Art' on WordPress.