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LIANA BADR

night, in an impromptu position, in fear of the thundering clashes during the night. I battled unsuccessfully that premature, earlymorning wakefulness that embitters my day, like the punishment of prisons. For no matter how securely the windows are closed, the reverberation of the loudspeakers penetrates the walls bringing us the voice of the Israeli officer, who in his poor, grammatically incorrect Arabic, filled with linguistic errors, orders us to stay in our houses that day, or informs us of the required time we must return home in the event that the curfew is lifted for a few hours.

It was an unpleasant morning, its disquiet relieved only by my preparations for the pleasing idea of returning Robin to his original habitat, to that spot where we had walked on that radiant day.

I did not have enough time because the curfew would soon be lifted and I had to return him to his original place, then go to stand in the long queue at the bakery, and afterwards scour the few shops for some vegetables. My friend and I went by car to the western side of the city. In my hands was the metal sieve, which covered the dish in which Robin stood. The place was not beautiful, as we had thought it last time. There was a housing development occupying its edges turning it into a pit with newly-built flats multiplying in it, lined up in haphazard, random rows, with scrap metal, piles of earth and building materials in front of them. We looked for a tree near where we had found him but were unsuccessful. We found only a small pine tree that had been accidentally left behind, far from the excavations of the building sites. We walked over the small rocks, and the snatching thorns, and homes of wild brambles, their thorns tugging at our clothes, until we reached that tree, standing at almost the highest point among the hills.

The tree did not look like a safe refuge but there was no alternative except the low thorns entwined around the rocks. Robin would surely know how to handle himself because a few days in the house would not be enough to eliminate his wild instinct. I approached the tree and placed him on one of its short branches. To my great surprise, he fell to the ground and did not hold onto the branch. I rushed to him, picked him up, and placed him on another branch of the tree. It seemed as if there was some impediment to his attachment to the place, because he was falling off the tree immediately. Perhaps he was still suffering from dizziness and loss of balance!

14 BANIPAL 57 – AUTUMN/WINTER 2016

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