DAY 951 - OCTOBER 15, 2013

You push the older boy in black out of your way and stand next to Emad. You aren't angry, you just want him back in your life. You want him back in school. You want everything to go back to the way it was before the revolution. You miss your old life. Emad looks away. You both stand there silently until he tells you that he has been chosen to train with the most elite ISIS soldiers in the deserts in the north, near Al Hasakah. He tells you, confidently, that Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the ISIS number one, invited him personally. The older boy in black nods approvingly when he says this. Neither of you say much after that. You kiss him on the cheek like you did when he was younger, but it feels much different this time. When you ask Emad if you will ever see him again, he says "yes". You don't want to doubt the words your son just said, but you can't help it. You turn slowly and start walking in the other direction, unable to look back for fear of crying. You don't want to let them see you cry.