We won the match. Second place in the Gaza strip among UNRWA 5th graders. It was a too fine day to stay indoors or to even get a ride home, so I decided to walk, proudly with my fake silver medal. Something was strange when I approached my neighborhood. I could feel people looking at me; however, they looked away the second I laid eyes on them. Even Abo Mohammed who is the man that that makes falafel in the area refused to take the sheikel from me. Instead, he was unusually kind. As I was walking, eating my Falafel Sandwich, with the salad leaving a trace behind me, my house starting to show up, the roof the windows, I could then see the so many people gathering in front of the house. I started running, and when I reached all of those people, I dropped my sandwich which was then empty. Being a small boy, I tried to find my way through the men’s legs to the door I could only hear my aunt sobbing. My Mum sitting there looking at nothing and tapping her hand on her huge belly softly, she was about to shed a tear. I could see it glowing in her eye hopelessly. She didn’t. In the guests room, my aunt sobbing, most of our neighbors were sitting there. And, there, in the middle, was my Dad wrapped in white, with only his face shown, eyes closed. He wasn’t taking a nap; that I was certain of. I ran to him. He seemed so calm. He had so many little cuts in his face, and I wasn’t sure if that was HIS body inside the white cloth. I looked at him for a minute or so. Then my aunt came and hugged me so tight, while she continued her weeping which made me start crying, for I figured it out. My Dad will never see my fake silver medal.
My mother gave birth three days later. When she saw the child, she said with her sweat going down on her face” he looks like no one but his father”. And only then she burst into tears.
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She dropped it and ran away. She was standing right in front of the door of her school, holding her book, getting prepared for her exam. A huge number of explosions followed the one the hit near her school. She stopped. Looking around, terrified, she saw police men crying, cars hurrying, kids running. The bombs continued. She didn’t know where to go. Her headmistress stopped taxi drivers to pick up the scared students. She stood there in silence. A bus with the back door open passed her, letting her see the dead bodies piled inside. Her eyes turned wide open. Her lips froze. Her hands shook. Her knees could no longer carry the heavy picture that has just passed. She tried to stand, but no one looked at her. Everyone was running . A teacher tried to reach her, but another bomb was dropped and the teacher got back behind the door of the school. The girl felt the ground shaking under her collapsed legs. Her hands shook more. She was still in shock. She knew air strikes very well. She always sees them on TV. She knows that this happened before. But, the bombs went on. They were telling her that this is not just a strike. This is one hundred strikes in a minute. This is a try to break the record, and you’re just one girl on the ground, shaking, gulping loads of smoke, paralyzed by fear. The teacher reached her, dragged her to a car, and closed the door.
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It’s funny there’s a sidewalk here. I walked with my finger tips touching the huge blocks of the great, made-to-scare-me wall. I didn’t look at the graffiti; I know it very well. The sky was halfway eaten by the wall, and the sun was no better. I stumbled with a stone, which was probably thrown by some of my friends yesterday. I sat down where I stumbled and grabbed the stone, stared at it for a minute, and threw it to the other side of the wall. I listened for an aw, a curse word, footsteps , a call, a whisper, or a gun shot. Nothing. I kept on walking. It didn’t seem to end. My finger tips were now colored with all dry paint colors. I stopped. Turned my face to the wall. Put both my hands on it. I pushed. I kept pushing,my arms straight, my teeth stressed, my legs rooted to the ground, the paint of the graffiti’s smell going through my lungs, the man on the other sidewalk stopping to see what will come out of this. My feet started backing the other way. A sound from inside me broke out to a scream. I collapsed to the ground crying. And, the man on the other sidewalk giggled and went on walking.
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Gently, so that he doesn’t disturb his son’s peace, he lay a kiss on his son’s bruised and bandaged face. Not really knowing whether his son is in peace or his body is just faking it, not knowing what else to do he got the white, red stained blanket back on his beloved’s face. Gently. What he’ll remember of his son is his cold still eyes who are still fixed on something rising to the sky. He will try to remember his smiley cheerful face, and his not very funny jokes and he’ll regret not laughing very hard at them. But, the cold eyes will always hunt him down.
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I am a kid, at least this is what they call me. I cried once in my life, but no one ever knew why, not even my best friend. I didn’t cry when my mother died. I didn’t cry when my sister got married. Nor did I do so when my dad got sick. I didn’t even cry when the dentist pulled my tooth as hard as he could.
People always wondered why I never cry. I watched my friend bleed till death while I stood there with nothing to do. I went back home that day and kept staring at the old ceiling of my room till the next night. I didn’t cry. I pulled myself back together, I don’t actually know how exactly I did that only it was as simple as getting up from my bed. But I never convinced myself that this was the reason of my none sensitivity.
I once asked my mother why people cry; she answered “Because they’re humans, darling” she was always this mysterious and warm. After that I started questioning myself being a human. I told myself that I looked like one only I never cry.
When I turned 16 I had my Palestinian ID card and my mother was in her worst conditions, so we had to move her to another hospital, a hospital behind borders and check points. Since I was old enough and my sister was too young and my Dad was already sick, I was the only one who could accompany her through her long exhausting 3 kilometers trip! We reached the point where one gives his entry permission to a 20 year old soldier so that he can allow him to get to the hospital behind the checkpoint, my hollow looks weren’t very appealing to the soldier, thus he didn’t allow me in with my mother. She had to go through it all alone. I didn’t cry when I exchanged the last looks with her; although, the stream of tears down on her face would make that cold moon melt down. My mother died the next day in the hospital behind the borders. I didn’t burst into tears imagining her all alone taking her last painful breath, thinking that it was my fault that the soldier didn’t let me in with her. All I did was pouring that bitter coffee for people, sympathizing with my family, for three days.
I think that there’s no need to mention how much I suffered during my life afterwards. That’s not the problem. I wonder what the problem is!
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In Gaza, the smell of the air after it rains is so tempting that you want to keep standing in the street for no reason but to keep the fresh smell in your lungs. In Gaza, you envy others for being so happy and others envy you for having nothing. In my precious Gaza, you curse having to go to university ( you curse everything actually, not only that. You curse your friends, your neighbors, the news, your clothes, taxis, the food and on goes the list) at eight because you spent the night doing nothing but watching documentary videos about Gaza, which is the place you think you know the most.
Only in Gaza, you get used to being uncomfortable, sitting in a Taxi while being crushed by an old woman, who knows that you’re not comfortable, still asks you if you are. You look away and say you’re fine. Education in Gaza drives you crazy, for you wonder where all the girls go if not to university, complaining about the huge number of girls on the stairs, and of course the ones using the elevator. Misery chases you all the way to your home because you know all the time is going to slip away cleaning and watching documentary videos, although you have planned on studying the whole day long_ sometimes, you sleep, out of nowhere, you fall asleep, just like that!
People never get used to the sounds of bombs and shelling though they know them pretty well. When a bomb is dropped somewhere from the sky to the Gazan ground, your parents rush to the radio, helplessly, thinking that it would help. You feel scared because your bed shook. Then, you laugh at yourself because you know it’s not an earthquake.
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Hi droning drone,
you know what: you’ve become a real friend of mine. I swore at you. I spit at you. You keep me awake. You have actually been talking to me all day long. Well, to be honest my friend, I tried to ignore you by using my headphones and watching TV. But you wouldn’t quit, would you? Well, congratulations you’ve broke the record you’ve made more than one million friends in less than two days. Take good buzz of yourself.
Yours, A Gazzzzan
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