Excerpt from The Mind That Father Made, from the story Faith

And now as Nima readied herself to make the final sacrifice for her beliefs, she felt the fear rising.
Deep in her mind, she spoke to her fear: Why do you show yourself now?
‘When are we going to do this?’ Fatmah asked again.
‘Not yet,’ Nima snapped. ‘We have to be in a more crowded area. And in their area – we’re still in ours.’
‘You know, I think I would have married Saadi,’ Fatmah said.
‘Well, there’s no need thinking about that now,’ Nima replied sourly.
‘I think he loves me,’ Fatmah continued.
‘Well it won’t make any difference now,’ Nima scolded.
‘How can you say that?’ Fatmah asked. ‘Don’t you think that love lasts even after death?’
‘Keep your voice down,’ Nima said, frowning, and looking around to make sure they had not been overheard.
Fatmah hissed and turned away.
‘I’m sorry,’ Nima said to her. ‘I’m just a little edgy. Why are you so cool about this?’
Fatmah shrugged, but Nima was not satisfied. She needed to know her source of peace. The people at the training camp had not been aware of their friendship. Otherwise, Nima suspected, they would probably have objected to them doing this together, for fear of their talking themselves out of martyrdom.
Nima came closer and whispered in Fatmah’s ear: ‘Tell me why you’re this peaceful. Do you have peace from God?’
Fatmah looked at her. ‘Peace from God?’ She shook her head. ‘I’ve made peace with myself.’
‘Is that it?’ Nima said, not sure.
Fatmah shrugged. ‘I’m fine with what we’re going to do.’
‘I don’t know. I just am,’ Fatmah said.
Nima turned away. ‘That’s not enough for me. I’m beginning to wonder.’
Fatmah shook her head, chiding. ‘You can’t allow yourself to think like that – not when we’re so close.’
But Nima had already started to think. She had started to question where she was and how she had got here. Was her hate enough reason to destroy the lives around her? She looked around at the people in the bus. There was a nurse and she recognised her as living near her house. Did this Palestinian deserve to die? Surely Nima did not have the right to ask this woman to make the kind of sacrifice she was willing to make for her country. And what about the Jews? Did she have the right to take the life of another of God’s creatures? Surely the breath of life did not come from her, and who was she to steal it away from another person, even if they were her enemy?


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