One Week & Four Days
Edited Version Number 1
Lucas James is 19 years old and lives in a mountainous region south of Perth. Lucas is 'different' from his peers and is neither popular nor unpopular. His friends hold him close and he does the same. Recently he has formed friendships with people in Iraq, friends dear to his heart. These friends are in constant danger, though he needs them as much as they need him.
Lucas finds out from his mother that his Grandfather will become the third person in Western Australia to receive a lung transplant tomorrow (Monday, 10th July).
Lucas hasn’t seen Granddad for 10 years so the news means little.
Still, he can’t prevent thoughts.
Will he die mid-operation?
Could this re-unite my estranged family?
What if he dies after, wouldn’t it be a waste?
The moral dilemma hits.
Doesn’t someone else deserve this lung more?
Lucas believes in making the most of opportunities, and a lung is an opportunity.
Surely, someone can use this lung better.
Granddad only has a few years left at best!
Lucas is right; Granddad has traveled and enjoyed his life. Someone on the list can use this lung better. Still some good must come out of it all.
The days pass quickly; Lucas is busy enrolling for University. Thursday evening, shortly before 5pm Lucas’s mother arrives home.
He rushes out to greet her, knowing Granddad has had an infected lung. Lucas notes the distress and embraces her, trying to comfort her with his whole heart.
It’s not granddad, it’s mum. She won’t have closure if granddad dies, there is too many issues and she had just started to get to know him again…
Do you understand?
She manages a few words "He looks awful, tubes are everywhere.." and buries her head into his chest. Lucas knows how to help. With a strong coffee, dinner, and the family dog Lucas tucks his mum into bed.
Time to blog about this I think.
But before he can Lucas notices an e-mail from Najma, his closest friend in Iraq.
'Khalid Jarrar =(=(=(=(‘
Lucas opens it anxiously. Khalid's brother Raed says “Khalid detained in Mukhabarat jails, (Iraqi Secret Police) since Monday, July 10th.”
Lucas opens Raed's blog to read the story.
Ok. Before you read this, you have to understand. I envy Khalid’s faith. His is gentle, and cool despite the unspeakable situations evolving around him. He believes everything will work itself out- because god wills it to.
Khalid is no fanatic. He respects me, and he knows I am not a Muslim, nor religious.
“How can they FUCKING abduct KHALID?”
“ARE THEY FUCKING STUPID? Khalid is no threat!” he screams to no one at all.
Lucas at first held back the tears- but could hold on no longer.
Damn it, how dumb can they be!
What can he have done? Why was his house broken into 2 nights ago? Why did they take a hard-drive from the computer? Was it related? Is it because he blogs?
What the fuck? Who is responsible? What do I do?
Who can I call?
Lucas and Khalid have been friends for months, and he fears deeply for his Iraqi friend.
The glee he felt when his Iraqi friends say “Thank you, you made me smile”…
“You have made a difference, believe me.” –all that gave way and meant nothing to Lucas right now.
You can’t understand, unless you’ve tried it yourself. Go on. Try help someone in a place like Iraq without having to go through some dodgy corporation.
Try swimming against the stream and not giving in. Try be an optimist when others see doom and gloom. Try accepting gloom- then searching for the right way out.
Try knowing the US is doomed to fail in Iraq- but knowing they can’t pull out now even if you are still against them being there at all.
Will I ever hear from Khalid again? I wonder…
Scared, Lucas writes a series of emails assuring Khalid is an innocent victim, was wrongfully detained, probably for something ridiculous. A phone call mentioned on Raed’s website came illegally today, Thursday 14th of July... Four days Khalid had been held without outside contact.
Things are really looking up this week
Granddad nearly dies three times, and Khalid's chances aren’t looking good
What can I do? How do I help?
Lucas knows he can’t do anything for Granddad. There are people around him, at least doctors and family will keep Granddad alive.
Khalid must not be lost or forgotten!
Lucas is confused by his desire to help Khalid, and can’t imagine how to help a friend many thousands of kilometers away.
Only one notion stirs in his mind…
Why God? Why Allah?
Why can’t it be me? Why can’t I help? Oh god, just help Khalid.
I don’t care who you are, just help Khalid...
Lucas has no religion, though he believes in some things unexplained in this world. His respect for friends’ religious beliefs had at a few good and bad times influenced him to pray.
Praying is a way of reaching out to what/whoever is willing to listen as he sees it.
Khalid can feel these prayers. I know.
I can sense it. He still has hope and so do I.
Lucas knows Khalid's hopes and thoughts would be with Allah, Khalid's god.
Lucas prays for Khalid.
“Please God, Allah, people of the world; help Khalid through this dark moment.”
Lucas emails thoughts and prayers to Khalid’s family and friends. He knows they pray for Khalid too; it is what Khalid would do.
To the omniscient eye, the response is incredible. Thousands sign petitions for Khalid’s immediate trial. Men and women cry out for Khalid. Phone calls, blogs, emails and articles bounce around the globe.
A week passes, and come Thursday morning Granddad is no better. Lucas’s optimism begins to drift.
Granddad spent the last 7 days on life-support, needing machines to breathe for him.
Someone else really should have got this lung, I doubt granddad will ever leave the house again.
Sadness fills his entire house and the entire family.
Fear for his friend has got Lucas on the edge. All this negativity and feelings of uselessness have begun to overcome him, and all he wants to do is hide.
When will Khalid be on trial or freed? Surely we should know by now?
Though in his depression Lucas knows, he must not give up. Khalid would not allow it, he will never leave Lucas's mind.
He is alive.
But he is so sad…
Those poor people…
If only Lucas knew how right he really was.
Khalid was detained 10 days ago- the same day as Granddad’s operation …That’s nearly two weeks, and still no good news on either!
Lucas's mother arrives home from visiting Granddad. This time no tremor is in her lip, she looks proud. Lucas feels happy knowing there is light in the dark.
"Granddad walked 150m today, WITHOUT OXYGEN!" his mum exclaimed happily.
“You know, Granddad has been on oxygen for 3 years and hadn’t walked once without it the whole time?”
It is barely light outside the next morning as Lucas awakens to his mother and aunts rushing about the house.
Something’s wrong. What’s happened?
Listening intently, Lucas learns Granddad's infection is in resurgence, and taking over his body. His weight is 14kg below what it should be, and he is unable to consume solids.
For the first time Lucas genuinely cares about the potential loss of his Grandfather's life, letting Khalid slip his mind.
What if my Granddad dies? I should have gone to see him...
Loosing his nerve, his thoughts betray his friend.
Why did I waste my time on Khalid, how can I help him, HE’S IN BLOODY IRAQ!
His mother and aunts leave and Lucas tries to go back to sleep; he was defeated.
I don’t want to see Granddad, I can’t. Things aren’t right.
He better not die.
Granddad shouldn’t have that lung, he wouldn't be dying, and someone younger, fitter person could be healthy!
Lucas betrays his morals; he doesn’t put family first.
That evening, sad and tired his mother walks in "Granddad is stable, he is surviving," the words say just enough.
"Have you heard from Khalid?" the words bring Lucas a rush of hope. He senses change.
Rushing to check his email, Lucas forgets Granddad.
Najma, A --Khalid is free!—
Lucas runs to re-assure his mother, words already dancing from his mouth "Granddad will be okay, because Khalid has been released! The tides are changing again!"
It makes sense to them.
Khalid will tell his story later, and Lucas will follow it up. Optimism is in the air as he Lucas writes poetry for his Grandfather.
He knows that faith, prayers and the will of Khalid's family and friends has been answered. Lucas feels in a way religious, for the first time in this life.
One thing left to do
His Iraqi friends are close to God, Allah as they call him. Lucas will ask them for help. He sends an e-mail and posts on his blog:
“I am praying for my Granddad, he is nearing his death tonight,
Thank you all for helping, in Khalid's Fight.
I ask you please, please pray that my Granddad survives the night.'
And that is that.