There’s a beautiful beach in Gaza where the water is so clear you can see to the bottom. I bet you didn’t know that. I bet you thought it was all gone. I bet you think of every problem in the world when you think of Gaza.
But I think of the beach. I think of its perfect temperature, and of its salty breeze. I think of my cousins’ picnics of watermelon and cheese.
I think of getting taken out for shawarma in the middle of the night, even after having spent the whole day sick because I ate some baladi ice cream my mother warned me about. I hear the noises of the markets and see soccer games in alleys.
It’s because that’s what I think of when I think of Gaza that I don’t know what to do with days like today.
I know, obviously, that Gaza is more than all of these things. I know that it’s besieged, that it can’t breathe or sleep in peace. I know, that even with its seaside locale, it’s trapped. I know so many things about Gaza on days like today, the Gaza of drones overhead, and I picture my little cousins hiding in closets or defiantly yelling at the sky ‘stop it!’ But sometimes, I have to remember the Gaza of crystal clear beach waters. I have to close my eyes and dip my toes in. I have to hang on to that Gaza. I have to believe there are things even their planes can’t destroy.
I have ‘lost days’ every once in a while where I just can’t get anything done. We all do, just typical procrastination days.
But, I also have ‘Gaza Lost Days.’ Days I lose because no matter how hard I try, Gaza pulls me in. And my crystal clear beaches are shattered images. Today was a Gaza Lost Day; today I avoided answering my mother’s phone call because I knew she hadn’t seen the news, and I didn’t want to be tempted to tell her; today I read tweets from Gaza like I needed them for air; today I closed my eyes so tight to remember a crystal clear beach, but I couldn’t do it.
So, today I looked at the pictures instead.