A tale I found here in Ramallah.
It's Alice writing
Yaffa, my love
What would you say if you were to stand upon the shores of Yaffa? Would you have the proper words to unveil all the longing in your soul?
How would you Yaffa feel with you on her land? Would she receive you with open arms or reject you like she tries to reject the waste dispersed in her sea?
Would she mean to you, blame you for such a long absence? Or would she see in you a resemblance to your grandfather?
But I do not have my grandfather’s grey-blue eyes - those coloured like the sea of Yaffa.
Nor do I have my grandfather’s smile, bright like its oranges. I only have his memories and his key.
It should be enough: you also have his heart, remember?
But I could have had his Yaffa!
I rehearsed and rehearsed; ran the thoughts over and over in my head.
How would I introduce my best friend or even myself to Yaffa?
I figured I’d say:
I am the granddaughter of a long lost lover Yaffa.
A restless warrior who buried his heart under a lemon tree near his old house,
a dreamer who died longing for your salty seas and orange-scented summer nights.
How could you be so far?
I would dare to pick up all the seashells on the shore and wear them in all shades; necklaces, earrings, and even tattoos.
I would take point of the soft sand tickling between my fingers and throw it over my bedroom threshold so I could step into home even when I am far away. I would take many pictures and save them in my memory for life, like a strange tourist who vows to act like a local - the local I am.
I would take all the chances, for this is Yaffa not Jaffa I am talking about.
The land beyond time, my roots, forever my home.
I believe I spent too much time thinking about how I’d meet Yaffa, and when I finally did, I was happy to be on her soil but a sense of gloom swept over me and left me broken-hearted.
Yaffa smiled back at me. Welcome, she said.
I entered Yaffa with a camera on my shoulder, hoping to see her take me into her arms.
Hoping to rescue my grandfather’s heart from under the lemon tree.
I entered Yaffa and stood on its shore.
I thought I’d have so much to tell her too much to give her: old letters, pictures, memories and greetings of loved ones.
I couldn’t, I choked, crashed like a wave on its shore. I only had tears for her that I dropped in her grey seawater.
Yaffa answered with the most tranquil sunset and a roar of high waves murmuring:
"You are home, my daughter".
She threw me a seashell,
I picked it up and said:
"I’ll take this to my late grandfather.
Shukran Yaffa, my love."
Alice S. Yousef
Alice S. Yousef is a 21years-old writer from Palestine.
She is interested in literature, culture, and photography.
She hopes to take a Master degree in literature, one day
She hopes to become a novelist, one day
(from "This week in Palestine, Issue No 177, January 2013)