Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Saw the Old Lady Again Today

Remember the lady from Bethlehem, old and bent, who set out to walk all the way from hilly Al-Tireh to Ramallah Tahta to go and see a doctor for her shoulder?

I saw her today. Hobbling down a street in central Ramallah.

She was wearing the same black shoes, black stockings, a black skirt, a dark blue cardigan with a silver clasp in the front, and the colorful silky scarf over her hair, tied under her chin.

She looked so tiny.

I saw her stop at the sight of a blue plastic bag on the ground, study it, lift it up with her cane, and I wondered what her situation is, really. Is she so poor that she has to go through trash? Has she maybe lived through such hard times that she feels she mustn't let anything go to waste?

She inspected the plastic bag, decided it wasn't worth anything after all, let it go, and walked on.

The sun was shining, people hurried past her on their way to work.

She came to the end of the sidewalk and stopped. Reached her cane over the edge and steadied it on the street before she ventured to take a cautious step down.

She made it. But was so exhausted by the feat that she only took a few more steps before she sat herself down to rest on a white plastic chair set up by a parking lot. The parking guard came out of his little booth,

"That will be one shekel," he joked.

He stayed and talked to the old lady.

And I. I thought I couldn't let the moment pass, since I do have a blog to think of, so I pulled out my camera.

Not very clear because the windshield was dirty, and I didn't want to roll down the window and make my paparazzo-ing too obvious. But there she is. The old lady from Bethlehem.

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