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  • luxzia0

An Elegy

For those I have lost, and those who I remember.

I sit tonight, waiting to hear about a friend who is possibly near death. An old friend from a lifetime ago. I think of his spouse, another old friend, whose well of grief is possibly only matched by her strength.

Many many years ago, this friend, a German, and I went to a talk by a Palestinian linguist. That March evening I learned about the phrase و لنا عوده - we will return, the phrase used by every exiled Palestinian who swears to return to their stolen land. Most of those who fled are gone from this earth now, but their children and their children's children remember that phrase, remember the land and swear they will return.

Afterwards, we went for drinks my friend, this linguist, myself, and the host of the talk. We talked of memory - Jewish memory, Palestinian memory, German memory. Of hope born from grief so intense that. it seemed very far away from us, safe in a bar in a university neighborhood in a quiet American city, so far from me, a young idealist twenty-something woman enthralled with the larger world I was still getting to know.

Now, more than twenty years later, I thought about the fact that the oldest of the four of us, the Palestinian linguist, is still alive. I was the youngest and am still alive. I guess if I had thought about much that night, I would have realized I would likely be, being both younger, and a woman with a longer average lifespan, the last to remember that night. But I thought my friend, and the host, a dear friend whose death only a few years caused the most intense grief I have ever felt, would be around for many many years to remember and reflect on that intense conversation.

Time is a place we can never return to but it is a place we can miss as keenly as a spatial location. So, tonight, I grieve for those loss of time and the loss of friends and a place I can never return to, with hope that the grief will in time fade to a place where something else can grow in its place.

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