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Hamza flew from Luton to Glasgow on a rainy January morning. As soon as he departed the plane and walked into the airport, he noted a remarkable difference; everything was calmer here. From the airport, Hamza rented a car and drove the rest of the journey. It was several hours drive to Skye, longer because he had chosen to rent a secluded lodge at the far north of the island. He couldn’t tell whether he was trying to get further away from society, or closer to his wife somehow.

It was a place they were supposed to visit together. They hoped her diagnosis would only be a delay but their hope was premature and it wasn’t long before neither of them spoke of their plans again.
His lodge was near a place called Uig.
“Uig. Uig. Uig.” He said it out loud as he arrived at long last and could almost hear his wife’s hysterical laughter at his surely incorrect pronunciation. The lodge was cosy and welcoming but it took a long time to warm up. He filled up the coal burner in the middle of the living room and lit the fire.
After he had eaten, Hamza faced the silence. He dragged himself to bed and it wasn’t long before he began drifting into a much needed sleep. In his hazy state he thought he could hear his wife’s voice calling his name. …


The true story of friendship between a Palestinian Muslim and an Israeli Jew who at different times lived in the same house with the lemon tree.

Title: The Lemon Tree
Author: Sandy Tolan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 400
View on Goodreads | Buy from Amazon

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The Lemon Tree featuring my cat Luna

Blurb

In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. …


This is my own twist on what happened after “Reader, I married him.”

An additional epilogue

I am writing this to supplement Jane Eyre’s autobiography and in doing so I hope it might be of help to her one day. All in all, Jane’s account was thoroughly accurate for she can be a vigorous creature. I have read it several time myself and been witness to and part of many of the scenes within it, therefore I can certainly vouch for the truth it holds.

I saw Jane Eyre for what she really is, perhaps from the moment I laid eyes upon her form, although it wouldn’t be confirmed to me until many years later.
Reader, you yourself must recollect the countless times I attributed her with names of the otherworldly creatures that reside, or used to, in the green pastures of the country. …


Bereavement can come in many different forms; the most recognised being the loss of a person, whether that is any family member, a close friend or acquaintance or someone who had an impact on your life in a more indirect way. There are, however, many more and sometimes complex forms of bereavement. The loss of a pet, often underestimated and trivialised. The loss of a job, a house, a way of life. Infertility, an often unseen and unspoken grief where the loss is not something that has necessarily been taken but something which might never be gained. All of these are real forms of bereavement and therefore each come with a tangible and poignant grief of their own. …


She had always been good at make-up. She had always enjoyed doing her make-up but she was somewhat sad — although that feeling was remarkably insignificant in the scheme of things — to discover that that feeling was quickly receding because it had become a necessity. A mask. She sat in front of her mirror, carefully applying each stroke when she saw his reflection walking towards her. Inside she shuddered in repulse but she kept her features steady.
“Why do you wear so much make-up? It makes you look like a slag. Surely you can see that” His voice was thick with disgust.
Because of you, she wanted to scream. If I didn’t wear it, everyone would know, she longed to spit in his face. But she didn’t, she merely remained silent, knowing that there was no response that would appease him anyway. A year ago she would have retorted the way she instinctively wanted to. It took her some stubborn months to learn the best way to respond, or not as it turned out to be. …


That we know of!

As of 2011 there were nearly three million Muslims in the UK — although the vast majority of these reside in England. Most of the Muslims who are now settled here have come to live in the UK as a result of migration. However, there are an ever growing number of white Britons converting to Islam; especially women.

The sight of Muslim women has become normal in this country, although sadly not always accepted, and has become so because of the growing communities all over the country. …


For some reason, there’s nothing I love quite as much as a book that is tragic and completely and utterly breaks my heart. A book that I’m left thinking about weeks, months and even years later. A book that makes me think, oh why did it have to end like that? And yet if the ending were different, it wouldn’t have nearly the same impact on me. I guess that’s why I love a tragic story, because it stays with me and the outcome of the characters’ lives evokes emotions in me and makes them more embedded in my memory. …


Death, destruction, despair.

A world beyond repair.

Terror, tyranny and tears.

Victims of all years.

Nations wiped — genocide,

People look on worldwide.

Governments, police: corrupt,

To protect or destruct?

Refugees turned away,

Despite room for them to stay.

Attacks worldwide without reprieve,

Only white lives are grieved.

More flowing blood than water,

No end to pointless slaughter.

Division, racism, hate,

Accepted without debate.

Borders, gates and walls,

No humanity at all.

Only Muslims to blame,

Their lives have no claim.

Wars, wars and yet more wars,

Children killed by the scores.

No end to this in sight,

A future not so bright.

Death, destruction, despair.

A world beyond repair.


May all of your worries be wiped away; from the smallest flicker of doubt to that unbearable and all-consuming anxiety.

May the very worst of your worries today, be something you one day soon look back on and wonder how you ever fret about it.

May the worst of your fears soon be conquered by the strength you have within you.

May the deepest of your sorrows be a means of making you stronger, yet softer and kinder.

May the tears you cry today be a distant memory sooner than you could hope for.

May the cause of those tears disperse into thin air and leave in its place only hope and light. …


When a writer falls in love with you, they say you’ll never die. Your essence and your soul will remain in the words they poured their love into. The words you said and the way you looked at them are described poetically to make you come alive every time the words are read again.

Every kind of love is unique and impossible to recreate. That specific love, which the writer held for you, will never be born again. …

About

Safiya Cherfi

Reading with a purpose. Writing with a dream. INFP. www.instagram.com/jscherfi/

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