by Waleed al-Meadana
Gaza – Streets are desolate. Darkness swallowed both sides of the road – the long road, actually, the hazardous road, the short road, the hard road and the wild.
Drones made it more tough and deadly. A graveyard is some meters away, and the car is racing both, time and potential death. Lull is suspicious.
It is chilling. Scary breeze surges into the car. I feel the freeze inside my lungs. Cold stretches all over my body and reaches my nerves.
“Hit the gas, and take the next round,” said I. “Move faster!” The drone got closer. And closer. I believe that it touched the roof of the car. I glanced the pointers of my clock. It almost hit 8 pm. It was both, a dramatic and traumatic moment, through which I could look at the eyes of death twice. “Take the narrow road,” blew I.
I turned the radio on, trying to dismiss my fears: It is the night of the 7th day of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, and numbers of causalities are heaping. They exceeded one thousand. Death toll has reached one hundred and something, half of whom are minors and women. Hospitals are overcrowded, and medical supplies ran out.
I switched off the radio. News are discouraging. I felt comforted, though. A shy smile was drawn on my face. It was a state of estrangement. “Do you think we are gonna die?,”
I interrogated the wordless driver. “Do you think we are gonna be targeted by the Israeli drones?,” I questioned.
The driver did not answer a breath, and many questions were massing . It was yet a state of estrangement!
Probably, he was thinking of his children – how would they grow up orphans; how hard is it for his widow wife to raise up her children alone; how bitter is it for his mother to see off his torn-apart corpse. And many other questions were crowding in the corner of his mind. Probably. I thought the same, actually.
The car is advancing. A shadow of an aged man loomed out of darkness, walking side-by-side to a little child. He is clutching his hand tightly. Both are unflinching, apparently. The car advanced, and a massive detonation was heard. I could not look behind.
Darkness backed off a little, then a lot. We were moving to a neighborhood, where power was still on. The driver took out a lighter and lit a cigarette. The air became more spoiled. “I would rather breathe fresh air before I die,” joked I.
“I would rather die alone, then,” the driver said.
Was he anticipating? Did he feel it? How would a man crack jokes on his destiny/attach jokes to his death?