She was standing in front of a mirror. It was 14 inches long, extremely old, stained mirror, that had lost luster. There was a time when she wanted to replace the old thing but she did not care anymore. The stool that used to be in front of the mirror was long since broken and she had not bothered to buy a new one.

She had to stand in front of the mirror now.

She was staring at her disfigured reflection-a bright red lipstick in her hand was glued to her small lips. She was done with the rest of her face-lipstick always came in the last-it was some ancient rule of makeup that everybody had to follow. She did not care much about the lips though since there was not much to cover there-not because they were small but because he’d never hit her there during their daily fighting ritual. He knew he would want to kiss her later and he did not want to be reminded of how he had hit her earlier. After all, he loved her.


It was 2 in the morning and Asher was moving as quietly as was humanly possible. Mr. Amjad lived only two blocks away but the fear of being caught had turned the two blocks into an eternity.

This is what theory of relativity must be about, he thought and a smile touched his lips as  the kind face of his physics teacher appeared right in front of his eyes. it was only from the memory though because his teacher was now dead like most of the people of his city.

These thoughts were still circling his mind when he realized he was standing in front of Mr. Amjad’s house. From the practice of months, he knocked the door mechanically-one tic-two seconds pause-two tics-three seconds pause-one final tic. The door was open. He did not bother to wait for Mr. Amjad to come and greet him with a happy face and open arms. A happy Mr. Amjad was only an image now-saved in his memory with various other images-corpse of a child, a mother crying herself crazy or a father too shocked to speak.


He will be back soon, she thought. She checked her image in the mirror-all her wounds were covered. She was ready for him. She didn’t know who they were kidding, trying to live a normal life in the midst of all the chaos in their city. She knew she was doing it for him and he was probably doing it for her. Although, this kept them going, she shuddered to think what will happen if one of them failed to continue. She could never imagine herself to be the survivor.

A knock on the door disturbed her. She waited for one second her breath held tight in her chest.There was another knock and she knew it was him. She rushed to open the door. It was him. She smiled. One day it may not be him, she thought and the smile vanished from her face.

“What happened?”, he asked, “Were you expecting someone else?”

He knew it was a sick joke and her angry look confirmed it. he handed her the provisions and tried to smile. Her heart melted as it always did when he’d smile.

They worked as a team like always and prepared a meal-fried eggs, stale bread, and black tea-there was no milk. It was not much but at least they were not hungry.


“I am sorry for the wounds”,he whispered in her ears as they lay in bed. His yes were moistening.
“Don’t be sorry”, she said looking in his eyes,”Because I won’t be when I will tear your fragile body.”

They both knew it was a morbid joke but he chuckled.

“There is only one way you can ever hurt me”, suddenly he was very serious, “By giving up.”

“I won’t”, she replied smiling sweetly. Soon she was asleep but he was not. He kissed her on her perfect lips.

He was teaching her to defend herself if the bad men came for them.She was learning fast and he was proud of her.

We might even survive this, he thought hopefully. he put a protective hand over the small sleeping figure of his wife.

Both of them were killed that night-murdered in their bed. The entwined figures had won the war.



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