By Deonna Kelli Sayed
In 2012, I traveled to a country that had recently split into two. It was the last trip abroad I would take as a married woman, the last time I would spend with Zalmay as my husband.
I didn’t know this yet.
I arrived in Sudan with my eight-year-old son, Ibrahim; a year after South Sudan had become the world’s newest country. Zalmay was the United Nations Resident Representative, an equivalent to an ambassador post. We were to join him in Sudan as soon as the youngest stepson graduated from high school in the spring.
The trip occurred a week after I had received the advance reading copies of my first book, a book about America’s fascination with ghosts. The trip occurred as I was collapsing into pieces, struggling to solve my personal hauntings.
I had recently started to ache; a phantom pain, something between an itch and thick of type of heat. In efforts to ignore it, I organized closets, wrote long and insecure journal entries, and cleaned my 2500 hundred square foot home. No matter what I did, this ache was always present: like a soft spark that ignited when air made contact with my body. The feeling was somewhat ethereal, and yet, it sat in my throat. The ache tasted like the wrong life, like I had somehow swallowed an accidental story. Continue Reading…