It is hot. That is the girl’s first thought as she wrenches her eyelids apart, light flooding their feeble thresholds. She pulls her jacket from beneath her;a customary seat cushion, or perhaps, for the girl, a method for the girl to be untouched by the scalding heat of the leather car seat she is seated upon. Her mother and father are deep in conversation as she turns to them, their arms outstretched and thrashing animatedly.
The girl’s sister and brother are sleeping beside her; their chests heaving upwards and downwards, their silent breaths flooding the car. She turns to rest her head upon the cushion of the car door beside her, stained with hardened specks of gum residue and apple juice, unrealising of how tired she feels, until the car rings haphazardly, and she jumps, out of that abyss of sleep beneath her.
“Mama?” Her father calls into the car’s speaker; the word ‘Mum’ is typed onto an ebony screen beside it, against white blurs the girl cannot register.
“Yes, my son, my beautiful son, may God keep you by me, my eyes, yes,” a strained voice only too familiar to the girl replies.
“Yes, mama, hello. We wanted to say good night to you, ya mama. We didn’t wake you up now?”
“No, my love, everyone is sleeping except for me. I was waiting for you. How are you, my son? How is my daughter, Rana, and my beautiful grandchildren? I miss you more than you could ever imagine, my love.”
“Everyone is good, ya mama. How is the situation back home, ya mama?”
“The situation is the situation, my son. Gaza will be Gaza, and there is nothing we can do about it. May God bring us together. May God reunite my son and I, and his family, ameen, my lord.”
“Ameen, ya rab. “
Ameen, the girl thought, though, in her heart, she knew she was praying over a lost cause.