“One Occupied Gazan Summer” is a three-part personal narrative by Mariam I. who explores her thoughts and retraces her steps during her most recent visit to the Gaza Strip. Read part one here and part two here.
Part three of three. One of the most painful moments of my summer was sharing a tearful farewell with my mother the morning she was set to leave Gaza through Egypt, one week before her flight to the United States. I woke up, got dressed for work, and went to the side of her bed to tell her two months was not long enough to be sad about not seeing each other and that before we’d miss each other, I’d be rejoining her in the United States.
Before I could say any of those things, my mother’s tears were streaming down her face. I knew that as hard as it was for her to leave Palestine, it was harder for her to leave me there, uncertain of my safety. I hugged her, told her I’d miss her, and asked her to have a safe trip before I ran out of the room as quickly as I could. She couldn’t see me cry; I had to be strong so she wouldn’t worry. Goodbyes are never easy.
I cried in the stairwell and as I walked down the unpaved road in front of the house. I was able to compose myself in time to not look crazy before I had to hail a taxi. That was a difficult day of work. I found myself constantly searching the news for information on the status of the Rafah Crossing. How many busses were let through, how may were sent back, how many people were trapped in the lobby waiting to cross into Egypt?
I was terrified; my mother’s flight was approaching and she needed to get through as soon as possible, but also, I didn’t want to have to deal with another painful goodbye. I went home from work that day in the same depressed state that I arrived in. I entered the house and went straight for the kitchen, but oddly, I imagined my mother’s laugh. [Read more...]