Dear Layla

We are staying with the Hijazzi family these nights
We arrive in time to break the fast in the evening

Spend the evening then sleep over
Leave around 7 in the morning

Yesterday we were quietly eating very early
Sitting on the floor

Johnny Yau and I
The parents and their four kids

As I am eating foule
We hear gunshots like they were next-door

And I must have jumped off the floor
A few inches I was so unnerved

The father said matter-of-factly
“It’s the sniper tower a couple blocks away”

Everyone kept eating
Except for me and Johnny

From across the room
Barakat the 16 year-old

Calmly walked toward me
Sat down beside me  then put his arm around my shoulders

And whispered
“You OK?”

“Uh…not really”
“I know … this is how it is here”

Because of people like Barakat
I’m slowing  learning  how to be OK with not being OK


Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine

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