The day of the funeral, everything in the house seemed the color of mud. I could smell death in every sniff of air, feel it in every corner of the house, and sense its bitterness in every face.

However, there was that face that whenever I saw, bitterness would change into hope, and sorrow into joy. A face that hadn’t learned the language of sorrow yet, and sang in a totally different tune. It was Angy’s.

Angy, at that time, was the very youngest member of the family. A gorgeous, extremely innocent 6 month-old baby girl. She had a perfectly rounded head, mops of smooth, straight brownish hair and the bonniest pair of eyes. Her chubby mellow cheeks, along with her toothy smile beaming through her full-moon face made her absolutely irresistible.

She was even more adorable when she sat on the big couch, half-bent over, with her tiny little legs stretched out, leaving her feet not so far from her tummy. A posture that would make her look like a small tennis ball.

 Her name was a bit heavy on our tongues. It’s Turkish for angel. I also heard that it means a group of seven heaven beauties. Quite special!

 Despite the beautiful and unique meanings, we had a tendency to use an easier-pronounced nickname. We called her Annoona. A bit long for a nickname, but we got the hang of it at last.

“Little girls are the cutest thing on earth!” I would frequently repeat, being under the influence of that little enchantress.

For me, Angy – or Annoona -was not a mere little chubby cute baby. She was a symbol of life, hope, renovation and everything good left on earth.

However, there was a time when she caused me to cry, though indirectly.

I entered the living room in my grandma’s house and found them looking at some pictures of Annoonah, printed on A4 papers. I grabbed the pile of pictures and exclaimed joyfully to my cousin, Mais: “Hey! Annoona’s pictures!” She nodded with a not-so-happy expression.

I sat next to her looking at pictures; she didn’t seem interested at all.

 I couldn’t understand the reason behind her screwed up mood, till I reached a paper on which was the photo of our late grandfather with Annoona in his lap. On the picture there were 3 verses of poetry, the small poem that my grandfather had composed for Angy, his youngest grandchild, few months before he passed away, signed at the bottom of the page with the cordial dedication:

From grandfather Ibrahim Al-Salah to dearest granddaughter Angy Al-Salah

Reading that stirred dozens of emotions and brought tears to my eyes that I tried to hold back. But the mission became harder as I looked at Mais, realizing the reason behind her frown that started to dissolve into a muffled cry.

Failing to mute the pressing sentiment, and without uttering a single word, we rushed to the kitchen and wept openly.

 Originally posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 on



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