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In My Dreams

A wall mural in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem_March 2000. Photo by Muna Hamzeh

When I'm asleep I visit them. My friends, neighbors and ex-in-laws. I am with them in Dheisheh Refugee Camp. In some dreams, I walk through the camp alleys. I am lost and can't find my way. In other dreams, I find the ones I love, talk with them, laugh with them and eat with them.

In some dreams, I find my way home. I manage to pass through Israel's airport security and the endless military checkpoints. In other dreams, I can't pass. I am held up. I am sent back. I panic. I wake up in a sweat.

In some dreams, the soldiers are there. I am cornered with my friends. The bullets begin to fly. Blood is everywhere. I start to run. I always run. Then I wake up panting and in a sweat. I feel grateful that no one was actually shot. At 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., I am wide awake, realizing I am here but wishing I were there. Other times, I wish I am the one who was shot.

In my dreams, the children haven't grown up in my absence. They are the same age as when I left them six years ago. They all want to sit next to me, play with my curls and sing songs with me. In my dreams, I am there with them. When I awake, I find them in my heart, where they'll always be.

In my dreams, I create an illusion of reality. I am home, right where I belong. In reality, I'm an exiled soul, haunted by memories and dreams, waiting, hoping, knowing that someday I will return where I belong.

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