Writing by Samer Tamimi |

When Does it Start or Learning

When I was able to brake the bicycle, turn it around, ever so carefully, and make my way back up the hill (the hill which re-visited as an adult turned out to be a mere incline), is when I realized I had finally learned how to ride a bike. I was very eager to achieve this; you see my younger, sportier brother, had learned before me. I raced home to inform my mother; I found her laid out on the couch surrounded by my two brothers and a family friend. These were the first of two strokes that would pretty much take her out of commission. I loved (love) her so much.

About three years later, my brothers and I were flown from Paterson, New Jersey to a small village in the West Bank, Palestine. The interrogation room in the airport fascinated us; we were dumb kids and did not know that the decorations were meant to intimidate. The bullet-shell ashtray was my personal favorite.

My father sternly silenced us with a,
"Silence!” (Even modern-day Arabic is very formal when compared with English)
“They have tape recorders under the counter", he said.
How interesting, we thought.

Years later, gazing out over my uncle's almond grove at the Israeli settlement, I'd wonder what would have happened if only I reached my mother in time to inform her of my newfound bike-riding powers; probably the exact same things… probably.

Samer Tamimi is a Palestinian. He once performed street poetry along the banks of the Mississippi. But that too seemed absurd. He now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.