The Best Runner in the Class (Part 1)

Ilan Pappe, The Electronic Intifada, 28 May 2007

It was the quiet lapping of the waves that reminded her of that awful day. Like now, it had been the middle of May, and roughly — or was it? — the same time of day, the Mediterranean dusk, when the skyline above the sea becomes a glowing display of colors, contours and configurations. But of course, on that day she did not rest as comfortably as she did now, with her bare feet dug deep into the crisp warm sand of the beach near her village.

The flickering water and fading sunlight prodded the painful memories to surface and trouble her mind to the point of derangement. Then a sudden silence fell, for the shortest possible moment but crystal clear and sharp, as if everyone and everything was frozen in time. Fifty years ago it had been the same: a very brief interlude that allowed everyone on the beach — killers, victims and bystanders — to absorb the moment, even to grasp it in a lucid manner that would never repeat itself. Now her own realization was more stoical, and free of the panic that had gripped her then. This time a sense of surrender enveloped her. “Illi fat mat,” bygones are bygones, Fatima murmured to herself.

Yet they were not gone. It was all the fault of that insistent student. Nosey and unpleasant as far as she was concerned, with broken Arabic, who had interviewed her about those traumatic days in the past. Fatima tried desperately to brush aside the memory of the meeting she had had with him that morning and to distance herself, as far as she could from the beach and its dark secrets …



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: