Thursday, June 22, 2006

Palestine keys in search of a home

Karla is 20, half Palestine half Australian, and she’s just arrived in America.
She appeared at breakfast.
She sat alone, nervous, and agitated, uncertain what to make of the confident, cool, young American women in the Three Arts Club.

She trys to make eye contact with some. They ignore her. So she sits down next to Elisabeth, a woman in her mid 30’s.
Big mistake.
Elisabeth never but never, talks to anyone. She sits and reads her newspapers. She hopes one day to be a curator. She eats alone,rejecting any overture of friendship.
But the new girl doesn’t know this. So she is ignored again.

The next day she did not make that mistake again. She sits on her own, isolated in a far corner of the room.
After collecting my breakfast from the buffet I feel a sense of remorse. It could be me.
I knew just how she felt.
“Why don’t you join us?”
She accepted the offer with alacrity to join
our international table of older women.
“How long are you going to be with us?” asks Jodie in her direct way.
She wants to know if she is wasting her time getting to know yet another stranger passing through the Three Arts.
“Two more days.”
The atmosphere suddenly became chilly, did we really want the bother of getting to know someone who was only going to be with us for a couple of days?

And that’s the trouble. We are in our own little warm cocoon of friendship.
But I encourage her to tell us her story, certain that she will have one.
“I’m Australian, my father is from Palestine and I am taking a year out to travel the world.”
She’s an art student.

“My father left Palestine in 1948. I have been there once. So beautiful. Do you know there are thousands of Palestinians all over the world carrying very old keys- hoping one day to return?”
I didn't.
“My father has a set . He doesn't know if his home still exists or who is living there.”
“We are all rootless” said Jodie, ” I’m neither East European nor American, I belong to nowhere.”
She added:"We are all looking for our roots."


Post a Comment

<< Home