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I keep trying not to think about things

June 10, 2011

I’ve got that hollow stomach falling away feeling again, and I really don’t want it. This time it’s The Times’ normally inoffensive features section, that has a double page spread- beige sandy ground scattered with destroyed tents, and tiny dots that look like corpses. A screen grab of a neat haired woman _ a television presenter found dead with a gash on her face. And people walking that refugee-walk in the rain, going nowhere.

I want tea. I always want tea when things feel like this. I don’t know what I used to want. Mangoes? Kandos orange chocolate? I remember hiding yet again in our living room, lights out, television turned off, because my grandfather had spotted a campfire at the back of our garden, and was worried that we were unknowingly harbouring a rebel fighter, who would bring the army crashing through our door. I wanted it to be an over-reaction. A simple explanation that in the light of day would leave us feeling foolish. It was. The fire was lit by next door’s night watchman, who wanted coffee outdoors. But I don’t remember anyone feeling foolish.

Our neighbours had a shop in Colombo. They thought the riots were over and the father and son travelled back south to check their stocks. They were caught by a mob who put tyres around their necks, doused them with petrol and set them alight. I can’t remember their names but I remember how they died.


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