It’s been sixty-five years. Sixty-five years, Yousra remembered the story her mother told her once, since her grandmother, Jameela, frantically packed generations of her family scattered around the house in an old hijab and huddle it over her back.
Sixty-five years since children walked the holy land with socks bearing holes that looked them in the eye.
Sixty-five years since children like Nasim kept on staring at his blue toenail from a window of cotton and cheap polyester.
A dreary, overcast April 15th. A congregation of brown tents hanging over the brown ground they once owned listening intently to the sermon by a preacher of grey cloud and brown dirt.
Brown socks covered the feet tattooed with mud. Rusting poles held up the towns, neighborhoods. A grid of brown, broken spirits and cold feet.
Yousra knit socks for her three dolls. She didn’t want them to be cold. She’d tell Nasim, while her limbs choreographed a harmonic dance with her feet, that cold dolls are sad dolls. That she once heard her Mama say feet are the window of the soul, it is where the soul escapes the body. She covered her dolls’ feet with socks so their souls would not escape. Nasim and Yousra sat on top a hill overlooking the predominant brown and grey. Yousra didn’t wear socks. Nasim wore the pair that had the window of cotton.
“Look, it popped yesterday.” Nasim showed Yousra the ball he stole from school last year. Somehow, a shard of glass cut it.
“I’ve a game tomorrow and that’s my only ball.”
“You think we can fill it with socks?”
“How? I only have the pair I’m wearing.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve three pairs for you.”
The corners of Yousra’s mouth walked towards her ears to paint a smile of midnight assurance where almond blossoms grew.
“Want me to get you a cup of tea, Nasim?”