The souk wasn’t free of child labour, either. But it was a different kind of child labour. The red, green and yellow apples still bore the fresh prints of children’s laughter inscribed into their skin. Sisters, brothers and cousins would chase one another around the family orchid, now getting tangled up in a grandmother’s wrinkled skirts, now passing under a ladder, picking up an apple here, stealing a hand-stitched scarf from a young cousin over there, running wildly, turning over a tank of lukewarm water. Chased by an uncle’s stick. The apples in the crates in the souk held on to these memories, to release the faint laughter of those children when sliced sharply by a knife to be served at the salu of another family. Ziyad didn’t know these secrets yet. The apples winked at him mischievously, teasing his taste-buds with their smooth colours like the waves tempting the rocks with their foam.
- khulud, deleted from Haifa Fragments, forthcoming by Spinifex Press, 2014