Lost in Place
For months after we left Libya [and arrived in Egypt], when I was a child , I used to lie staring at the ceiling, imagining my return. I pictured how I would kiss the ground; take charge once again of my chariot, that bicycle I fussed over and oiled every week; embrace my cousins. Once [Father] joined us in Cairo, we moved to a bigger and better flat. It was there that I understood that we were not going back, that I had been tricked. I demanded to be returned to my country. My mother tried to console me. 'Leave him be,' Father told her. 'He'll get used to it.' It was the cruelest thing he had ever said. Cruel and nearly true. Even then I knew, more from the voice than from the words, and also from the way he stood, not facing me, that he too was mourning the loss. There is a moment when you realize that you and your parent are not the same person, and it usually occurs when you are both consumed by a similar passion.
— Hisham Matar, The Return