I was speechless for more than 10 hours on Thursday, we were disconnected from the internet, and the electricity was shut off. I tried to escape by bothering my brothers to buy some widgets, I went back and forth from sleeping and eating. Life was dead in the city where I live.
This same day the Rafah crossing was reopened after it’s closure in the face of humanitarian cases more than two months ago. For more than seven months I had tried and failed to travel using the Rafah crossing.
Life came back to the city midday, the sound of the television, breaking news, Facebook notifications and messages came pouring in. Among these details, I searched for the day’s passengers disclosure and was shocked by what I found. Oh my God, I thought, my name was listed in the disclosures, the day was nearly over, and I missed my opportunity, I will not make it.
It all happened so suddenly, I did not have time to pack anything I could not carry myself. I could not be helped, but I was so happy that my first dream was happening outside my besieged city. I was going to attend the Cairo Book Fair with the letters I cherished from my city.
The farewells at the Rafah crossing felt like near death, my mother called out and her tears burned as she tried to prevent me from travelling out of fear of the unknown on the road. The Sinai Desert, the death penalty and the terrorists, the road was filled with danger.
From the Egyptian side, the Rafah crossing was tough and because of security conditions, we slept in the cold. Oh, what is this pain, I thought. We stayed so close to one another to warm each other, but sleep did not come.
I cried all night out of fear, for the tears of my mother and for the dreams that lay behind this giant wall. I also laughed as many passengers brought a reminder of the dreams that were outside the walls.
In the morning, nine women gathered inside a minibus. I suggested that we pick a good bus. The driver was from a well-known company. The windows on the bus were closed which was good for this time in January was a cold and full of rain.
After more than 15 hours of road filled with many barriers that were made up of security opening bags and inspecting them, the sound of bombs and explosions and cold rain we arrived in Cairo. Two days after my mother and Appo wished me farewell I arrived in Cairo, I felt I was almost dead of fatigue, of joy, of happiness. I could not believe I left Gaza. It felt as though the sun was shining in my heart.
The next day I went to the publishing house that had agreed earlier to print my book, and the birth of my dreams began. We decided on the cover, number of copies, the quality and the distribution process. During this period we went to the Cairo Book Fair and met in person with many friends I had met on Facebook.
Two weeks later I returned to Gaza on the same road with pain and fear, but this time I was carrying the birth of my first dream.