The Question that was Never Answered

Marwan Hmeda, 25, Cairo
   
If you ask me if I love my father, I would answer: I love him. I would answer quickly, excitedly, clearly.
I don’t know because this never happened when my mother asked the question to my father: do you love your son? He may have answered, but I still have not heard his answer.
I don’t know because the door has closed.
The question remains, unanswered.
I’m not angry. Sometimes I feel I don’t deserve to be loved.
As a boy, I loved my father’s smile. It was his invitation to enjoy, to feel fulfilled. He would smile before he passed; I would smile.
I miss him a lot despite what it may seem.
I often can’t accept that he’s gone.
Thank God he’s gone, so I can’t disappoint him.
I can’t take losing his smile again.
    
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NOURHAN MAAYOUF