Syria was full of smells. Dust. Tea. Tobacco. Sweet shisha. Petrol. Cooking meat. Tarmac. Exhaust fumes. Mint. Sunshine. Have you noticed the smell of sunshine?

I find myself in memories. Fragments have been cramming their way into my mind for the last two days. I curse my terrible mind because my friends have a more vivid experience of Syria than I do. I have bits. Flashes here and flashes there. I avoid my photos. I try not to remember. But the peaceful Syria I knew deserves to remembered and prayed for that God might end her suffering and restore her.

Sitting with my friends. Tiled floors. Tiled walls. Watching Gladiator. Eating. Laughing. We sat on cushions and leaned against the walls. I was very shy. Stumbling over my Arabic. Two men. Poor. Serving their country and their president. Homesick. Gentle. Big smiles. Friends.

I’ve asked God to let me go back and do it again but I guess I’ll have to wait until the war is over. Regret.

One friend is dead. His story is not mine to tell. His story is one of sorrow and courage. His life has been cut off. He’s my age. Was my age. But he’s dead now. A bomb killed him.

Friend, may God give you the peace that war stole from you.