Witness

On the beach, Ali explained the ringing noise. “Before leaving Aleppo,” he said, “we sat all day with Emir’s grandma, eating, laughing, talking. Then, outside, the smuggler’s car arrived and we went dumb. But Emir’s face lit up and we both laughed when his grandma pressed a cell phone into his hand. It was a cheap model, bought in the market, and on the wall, she’d written its number like a name she could call in the night. When we heard the horn, we left—our faces wet—not looking back.”

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