I had to go to a gulf country for a while and then I came back to Palestine. At the bridge I wasn’t scared or nervous at all. I told them mostly everything and got out in four hours with a brand new stamp. It could be that I was used to this process, since I’ve been through it so often and spent so many hours thinking and dreaming and talking about it. However, it’s just as likely that I wasn’t nervous because I’ve come to the point where I’m averse to being here.
For days after my return I mulled around in sort of a funk. I’d worked so hard in the gulf that I didn’t get a lot of time to really absorb my surroundings. The Carrefour, the Starbucks, the BMW 7-series that drove me around, the incredible wealth of my surroundings – all of these things were there and I processed them with a sort of shrieking insanity I kept locked down completely. Yet, when I came back it was suddenly different. Now my bed is giving me headaches and I am not eating well. I had time to think when I was out of the country how poorly I was eating in general here. I thought about how difficult it was to move from place to place, and how every time I see Qalandiya checkpoint it’s like a piece of me is dying inside.
Palestine is a prison. If the walls, the drones, the watch towers, the guards, the barbed wire, and the lack of water won’t convince you, then try and look into the eyes of everyone when you tell them how you feel about it. They agree. To walk back into prison is a hard thing. To live there can be even harder. The little things grind you down, and sometimes it takes months to really understand how they do the things they do to you.