On a drop of a rain
Refaat R. Alareer
Scientists still do not unanimously agree whether raindrops originate in the sky as ice crystals or not. But that does not matter to me. I am no scientist.
Abu Samy is a Palestinian farmer from the West Bank. He was busy on that windy day weeding his field, or what was left of it. He regretted not listening to his wife’s frequent pleas not to go out. He was always doubtful about what she calls “her special gift” or her “sense of the rain”. He never listened to her, and if he did, he did not pay attention to her interpretations and elaboration of her different methods of skillfully and accurately predicting when it will or will not rain, for how long and how heavy the rain will be. Om Samy touches the earth. She holds a tiny grain of sand, whispers to it, and listens back. In cases when communication fails, she smells the grain. She understands the earth. But that is metaphorically speaking. Abu Samy knows that.
On the southern side of the wall, Abu Samy along with thousands of Palestinian farmers is not allowed to build rooms or erect tents lest they should use these tents or structures to dig tunnels to infiltrate to the other side, the Israeli side. At least Abu Samy is a lot luckier than his fellow farmers; he only lost two thirds of his land. Countless others of his friends and relatives had their fields swallowed by the Israeli wall cutting through the lands of the West Bank. For Abu Samy, the wall at this time at this very moment was useful as it shielded him from the heavy rain and the strong wind. Living under occupation has taught him to see hope in the darkest of tunnels, not that he digs such tunnels to infiltrate into the Israeli side. He ran to the wall. Gluing himself to the lengthy concrete wall, he was shielded, though partially, by the wall.
On the Israeli side of the wall stood an Israeli farmer whose wife, too, has predicted rain (and warned him against the Palestinians infiltrating the security fence). He wanted to run to the concrete room he built a couple of weeks ago, but as the wall was closer, he trotted towards it. If they both had listened carefully, Abu Samy and the Israeli farmer would have heard their hearts beating against the wall. Or maybe they did hear the heartbeats but thought it might have been the rumble of distant thunder striking somewhere nearby.
It was one particular drop of rain, a very tiny one. It could have directly fallen on Abu Samy’s bare head had it not been for a sudden gust of wind that pushed it to the other side of the wall; it fell on the Israeli farmer’s helmet.
Other drops, however, were racing towards and seemingly preferring the unshielded head of Abu Samy.
That drops of rain begin their existence as ice crystals seems, to Abu Samy, very possible. But who cares to Abu Samy’s views. He is not Israeli.