Him, bald. With a black moustache with gray stains, like white hairs. Summer clothes. Her, with glasses. Both very tanned. Just like any other couple, with their backpack and sitting on a bench at the edge of the pool. Apart from that she is covered from head to toe. Baggy trousers, shirt even more baggy, all the way to her knee, and a scarf against her head and neck.
A girl runs towards them. “My glasses, quick, give me my glasses!” The mother replies in a foreign language, speaking very fast. The girl, in a swimsuit of bright colors, very tanned, very long black hair, finds her glasses and runs to the pool she had come out from. The mother has not stopped talking to her, louder and faster, it seems that she is telling her off. Just before jumping into the pool, she turns and shouts to the mother, “¡Que sí!”
And I look at him, so like any Spanish at the edge of the pool. And at her, of garments so different from all the garments. And at the girl, who has already blended in the pool with the rest of the nearly naked bodies.
And I wonder what her choice will be, when she is told, or not, that she can no longer wear a swimming suit like her friends. I wonder how will be the moment when she will have to choose between being different from her friends or different from her family. If they will have similar or vastly different moments to our “You are not going out like that”.
This text came on Christmas Day, from David, who has been writing his experiences to his friends and family and, lately, to me, too. This page talks about himself and his own deportation:
When I came, I did not know too well what I had come here for. But that is not the most important thing. I have been with people who know only too well what they need us for. And they have put us, they have put me, in the places where I was needed, telling me, more or less, on occasions exactly, what needed to be done.
I wake up to find myself on my own, so I just get up and eat some of the food I brought with me as breakfast. I hear the sound of an engine and go to see what it is. Two men, one on foot and another one on a tractor, are spreading seeds on the fields around the village.
I receive a call saying that E., an Israeli activist who comes here regularly to get information about incidents that need to be reported, will be coming today for a visit. It will be a change I look forward to: I will finally have a conversation in English, after two days of speaking a word at a time and trying to make sense of people’s gestures.
Today is a visit day. A lot of grandchildren of H.’s mother come to see her. They had to come walking down the path that the taxi took me from, crossing the road that functions as a wall.
At eight in the morning the sun gets through the glassless windows in full swing into the room, where there are only two people now. The couple seem to have got up already; their mattress is no longer there. Their grandson is gone too. I remember then what I read yesterday in the log book, that they go to walk the sheep at about six in the morning.
Today is my last day here and as a good bye to the house where we stay I do a “tour” around it. It is a neighbours’ building and the most interesting part of it is the flat roof. The drums containing the water that is supplied to all the block neighbours are kept here.
D. is leaving for a few days. He is going to see R., at the jail that Israel has next to the border with Egypt, in the most southern point of the country, on the other side of the desert. R. is going to be deported for staying in the country while he was waiting for his appointment to renew his visa and helping out the girls in this neighbourhood, like we are doing now. I will leave before D. returns from visiting R. so we exchange addresses and say our goodbyes.
Today is Saturday and, there is a “visit” from the “women in green” (WIG) scheduled for today. It doesn’t’ happen every Saturday, but they do come rather regularly, and people who have been in Tel Rumeida for months are familiar with their doings.