It gets dark quickly in the winter. It feels like although nights are getting longer, the days are swallowing each other…tomorrow gobbling another tomorrow. By the time the masjid calls for Maghrib prayer and if the sun was out during the day, the sky’s color becomes this strange indigo mixed with orange.
I was walking down a steep road on a sunset like this when a little girl called to me from behind her home’s gates.
“Ya shatra, fe yahood!” She exclaimed. “Smart girl, there’s soldiers” except yahoo does not literally translate to “soldiers”. It translates to “jews.” I think back to the time I started only referring to them as soldiers or Zionists and not jews. I wonder when she would learn that.
“Are you sure they’re still there?” I asked.
“Not sure,” she shrugged.
Her older sister called her. “Stop bothering people. Come inside!” She scolded.
I continued on my way. There was no one. There were no boys with stones, and there were no soldiers with weapons. There was only the aftermath. There were stones with white splashes scattered on the street, making it hard to walk without stumbling. There were the silver canisters of tear gas that the IOF so openly declared to “gas [the people of Aidah refugee camp in Bethlehem] until [they] die” only a few days before.
As with all battles and riots, it is the aftermath that remians after everyone leaves, going back to the places they came from.
It is the aftermath that is so quiet.