Falasteen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story I wrote a while back for a lit class in high school, I chose to wrote about Palestine.

Submitted: August 15, 2014

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Submitted: August 15, 2014

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Falasteen

Running and tripping through the streets, stirring up dust, I grasped tightly to the hand of my younger brother. Jamiel’s panting echoed mine, as our footsteps stumbled. The stones and pebbles were fighting back against my torn shoes. My right heel was experiencing every tumult of pain because of the remaining, shallow grip.
Tanks blockaded our usual path from school. Cutting through the settlers land is risky, but it was the only option. Our farmland in the village of Beit Omar became visible in the distance. The rocks transformed into grass, as my home was in view. The lush green was comfort against my feet. Jamiel let out a sigh, and a smile escaped my lips.

The feel of the brick of my house was welcoming. Walking in, memories of my mother flooded my head.
“Where’s baba?” Jamiel asks, as he tosses his book bag.
I shake the thoughts away.
“He’ll be home soon, start your homework,” I answer. I open the fridge and immediately close it, not letting myself linger on the emptiness. Lately, ignorance has been my alternative. I know it’s wrong, but there is only so much I can cope with.
I find a piece of pita bread on the kitchen table and spread some lebna on it. I place the sandwich in front of where Jamiel is sitting on the carpet. The complex, patterned rug, incorporating various colours seems out of place in our bare home.
“Thanks Jineen,” Jamiel says as he stuffs his little mouth. I giggle and fill a cup of water from the sink. The free rushing water pours from the faucet, filling my cup and overflowing. I turn off the tap and take a sip. The liquid flows down my throat, delivering relief to the dryness.
I begin my usual chores, humming the music my mother used to sing when we were young. Jamiel hears the familiar tunes and follows me. I grab his hands and together we are dancing on the broken tiles of our kitchen. The chipped paint and cracked walls expand as the mood lightens.
Suddenly, the door opens and my father walks in, his head down. I drop Jamiel’s hands and we stand there in silence.

“Hi Baba,” I stammer.
He opens the fridge and gently closes it, trying to hide what we both know. There isn’t much food, but we aren’t the only ones.
“Is there something wrong?” I ask, concerned by his taciturnity.
“Yeah, everything is fine habibti, how was school?” he sits down, avoiding something. I know him too well.
“It was great, except sister Hana wouldn’t let me go out for recess because I forgot my homework,” Jamiel rants.
“Well, you should learn your lesson, if you want to make a difference in this world, homework is step number two,” dad states.
“What’s step number one?” Jamiel asks confused.
“Giving me a kiss,” dad says, outstretching his arms.
Jamiel runs into his embrace and gives him a kiss on the cheek. As Jamiel left the room, I watch my father remove his glasses and stare at this reflection. The glass reminding him of his stressed wrinkles and eyes.
“They are going to cut off our water pipes,” father release with a breath.
“The Israeli military?” I ask.
“Yes, they hired contractors, they are removing them from our land…tomorrow”
“But without water, our crops will go dry.”
“Calm down Jineen, we can water from the nearest town.”
“That is miles away, and we don’t have a car, and it will cost ten times as much.”

“It is the only way, go to sleep habibti, don’t worry about anything.”
I walk to my room. A single mattress lay on the floor, with Jamiel’s body sprawled across. I sat on the edge, head starring up at the ceiling. They were taking away our water? A necessity and we couldn’t fight for it because we didn’t have the power. I spent the night remembering my childhood, wishing things could be the same.
I wake up to the noise of glass shards crashing against the floor. I look over to Jamiel, still sound a sleep. I envied his rhythmic snores and calmed face. The floorboards creak under the weight of my feet as I make it to the scene, a broken cup on the floor and my dad in a frozen position.

I bend down to pick up the large pieces and sobs escape my father’s lips.  I have never heard him cry before, not after my mother’s death. A shiver spreads through my body. I can’t look at my dad, so I focus on the broken glass. I hear his footsteps retreat, and I am relieved to avoid confrontation. I finish cleaning the mess and return to bed.
Waking up to the sun streaming through my window, I can’t help but smile. Then I remember what occurred in the dark of last night. How those events don’t disappear in the day, but mask a shade over the light.

We went on with our Tuesday like we could any other Tuesday. School was long, gazing out the window, my brain tried to block out the concerned teens gossip regarding the water pipes.

Jamiel skips home and I trail behind, running through the settler’s land, I was in a trance. My feet were moving, but my mind was still. From a distance I saw figures of green blurs on my land. I begin to increase my pace, making out two jeeps and four armed men. Grabbing onto Jamiel’s hand, I take control.

Reaching the house, I saw my father. He was handcuffed and surrounded by four Israeli officers. Jamiel let go and ran. I grabbed him back, as he sobbed into my stomach, soaking my shirt.
My father’s eyes displayed failure.
He tried to fight for us. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried. He tried.
I look out to the birds, their nests perched in bushes and on buildings. The olive trees destroyed, no longer there. They spread their wings and fly. Their wide expanse was spreading in the open sky.

 


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