Its in the details
We celebrated Eid ul adha last week with my brother. We made a 7 layer chocolate cake and decorated it to look like the Kaaba-around which the kids circulated 7 times as though performing the tawaf in Hajj. The children got a kick out of this gastronomical pilgrimage. I was tempted to make little marzipan pilgirms, but I thought that might be a bit gruesome eating their heads off.
As usual I skyped my father to wish him glad tidings and hear of the death of his great cousin, "the one who always sat on the street in front of Khamees's store, sipping a bottle of sparkling water, in the green bottles, from Egypt".
The funeral coincided with Eid, so my father's scraggly, awkard stubble of a beard, which he was growing in anticipation of the holiday following the prophetic tradition (though he has never before grown it as long as I can remember) could have easily been mistaken as a sign of respect in the incidence of a close family member's death: 2 in 1.
The news seemed to get darker by the day. At first they were happy with losing electricity for 4 hours a day. Then 8. 12. 15. And now, they are going for 18-20 horus of outages at a time. They have a geneator- purchased from the Tunnel gray markets in Rafah, says my mother. Its giving them some problems, and so have sent it to be fixed by a local mechanic. They fix anything- old microwaves, broken toasters, laptops, digital cameras, blenders. Most learned during their days as day laborers in Israel.
In addition to the generator, they also share a line from our neighbors, the ones who own a famous Gaza boutique and who are originally from Nablus; 5 brothers. They are on a different grid and so the outages are at different times. and vice versa.
We're skyping less and less these days. When the electricity is on, he takes the opportunity to logon immediately, or call me to let me know he can talk. Sometimes, he logs on with the generator, but then we can only use audio and for a limited time.
"How are things?" I ask, non-facetiously.
"Well, we got a bird"
"A hasoon. you know, they are quite rare these days."
"Doesn't he get cold?"
"You're just like your mom. She asked the same question. Birds don't get cold-how do you think he survives in the wild? But anyway, I cover him at night, and put him out on the balcony during the day."
"But he's not in the wild. Anyway where did you get him?"
"the guy who takes care of your mom's land in Mawasi....he likes to catch quails and he caught this hasoon and so i bought it from him..."
"He gave us cauliflower and cabbage from the land..." chimed in my mother. She rambled on about the land, and the man who is taking care of it, and the condition its in, and what's growing there, and what the plans are for it, or lack thereof. details which now escape me; The land, used to be my grandfathers, and it is very sentimental to my mother.
The details seem boring. But they are what keep them going. What keep us all going. You see, trying to find a way to keep up with the boring details, to manage them, also keeps alive the illusion of normalcy. It is some kind of anesthetic I suppose. it keeps the hope afloat that the dawn is near; even if near is someone in the not so near future.