The fireplace flickers with the last oak ember, and all would seem peaceful to the silent onlooker who cannot hear the roar of a wounded Jerusalem in my soul. The light is dim and the only sound is the weak hum of the refrigerator, but the bright skyline of a busy Dubai midnight resolutely conjures itself against my drooping eyelids. I cannot hope for sleep, with so many airplanes zooming through the avenues of my memories of the Arabian Peninsula.
Soft pillows are never soft enough and so softer ones are bought until pillows pile up across the surface of the entire bed. As I sink into them, I cannot help but remember how much softer it was to rest against the dunes of the Sahara in the evening desert breeze.
The Montreal snow plays a rap-tap-tap against the windowpanes and I am suddenly brought back to Abu-Dhabi rains that flooded the city and forced me to swim through a pond to get to my second grade classroom. I giggle; what fun!
There would be greater floods after that, cyclones that sweep through the nation that most vibrantly colored my youth and leave it a skeleton of what it once was: my precious Muscat. She would soon rise again.
And as I rise with the first glimpse of the morning sun and yawn through the frustration of yet another sleepless evening, I take a mental stroll through an autumnal summer snow and smile at passing ducks, squirrels, and camels. I tend to rest under palm trees, but sometimes choose a pine. My favorite is the weeping willow, but I hardly ever find one amongst the miles of olive groves. For every tree uprooted in Ramallah, I have planted one within myself, and so conditioned spring to visit me as often as Doha’s visionaries raise cities from dust.
Scorching desert temperatures are woven into the fabric of my mind alongside freezing North American wonderlands and their sleepy winter suns. I turn the coffee brewer on and patiently wait for my dose of fair trade caffeine. The only sound is the light rapping of the elixir of life against a porcelain cup, and the thundering thoughts of a third culture woman.