The Two Sides of Qalandia Checkpoint Part 8: My Grandfather’s Car

On our way past Nablus St., a street that seems endless up until the bus gets on the highway from the Damascus Gate, I saw my grandfather’s car. It wasn’t exactly my grandfather’s car, but it was an exact replica of it: a 1997-2000 model, gold Mercedes Benz C 200 with a yellow plate. The man driving it was an old man, though seemingly younger than my grandfather with white hair and glasses.

My grandfather had his car for as long as I could remember – from twelve or so years ago. Sometimes, on my way to Ramallah in the morning, I would find it parked before the Friends school. Other times, it would be parked in front of the mosque during prayer time. Over the last few months of his life, the engine got a bit rusty, but my grandfather didn’t want to sell it and get a new one. He would say to such suggestions, “Later on. Later on.” The last time my grandfather drove his car was back in September. After that, it was parked in the garage until a few weeks ago, when my uncle’s family came to the country. My grandmother has sworn to never ride the car again or to ever sell it.

My mother and aunt would tell my cousins and I how their eldest sibling would take them to Jerusalem via their own car. Although I know it wasn’t this car, I can’t help but imagine that it was. It’s the car that I fit into this story.

And it could have been this car, but as it happens, two old Mercedes Benz automobiles were separated by time…separated on either sides of Qalandia checkpoint.


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