The world feels much more bearable with the knowledge that you're in it--that you're safe. The world is a nicer place when you're happy.
Knowing you has enlightened my life and chased away the shadows that were engulfing every small manifestation of beauty in my world.
I knew you as a beautiful smiling person that spoke to my heart and connected to my mind. I already had a crush on you back then. Oh, the innocent love that has almost no concrete hope, just dreams, and fantasies.
Our chats were like overflowing doses of dopamine, but there was no addiction in our bond. We would get distracted by our "real" lives for months and then we would seek refuge in our co-founded fantasy world to find it exactly the way we left it: Comfortable and inviting and full of joy.
How I wished I could take the next plane(s) that lead to your country. The distance has always felt insignificant, but the laws and regulations were a real barrier.
Later on, my heart broke by the news of the invasion. You lost your home city and had to take refuge miles away. I followed your journey of activism against the occupation and watched you grow into the incredible leader I always knew you could be.
You kept sharing facts and videos and you were one of the voices that successfully advocated your side of the story.
Those videos affected me so deeply. Mainly because, in them, I recognized the friend I always cared for. I noticed the way you fake a smile every time you get too emotional as if building a wall of smiles to keep the tears out of your expressions and your voice. I recognized that perfect strait face you wear when talking about your personal experience as if the story is about someone else. I heard your voice change and have a sour aftertaste that hints resentment when you speak about the oppressors, I watched your face get flushed and your veins show on your neck when you unleash the dragon within you, and I saw all of that go away within seconds when you change the subject to speak about your beloved country and your resisting people.
I fell deeper in love with you during that chapter of your life. Who wouldn't be affected by a rebel, strong, and beautiful woman fighting for freedom and justice? But to me, you were beyond all that! You were a perfect example of dedication and knowing what's worth living for. A link between me and a life that feels much more real than the routine and the dullness I was stuck with.
Not by choice, but it happened slowly and felt natural when I stopped being a close friend and started being an admirer, a follower like the thousands that believe in your cause. Maybe I esteemed your time too valuable to be wasted in a pointless chat with me, so I interacted more with your posts and texted you less and less.
Always so beautiful and so stubborn, you kept shedding light on a cause many people forgot about and considered settled.
Then the bad news hit again: the invaders decided to advance even more and followed you to your exile, trying to take it over, too.
This time you decided to stay and fight, scared for your friends and family, but never for yourself, your usual smile on your face, your powerful words echoing all around you and all over the social media, your mind at peace because you know you're doing the right thing, as you once told me.
I can only hope for the war to end with you still safe and your land free. For the world is a much brighter place with you shining all over it.