The Return by Katie Rashid

The posters continued every 100 meters. They were Hezbollah fighters. Each pair of sharp, rounded eyes held the conflict of Lebanon’s south.

The barricade. The portal. A handsome twenty-something guard joking with the driver in front of us. A quick tap of his hand on their car and it sped off. He then turned toward our driver, still grinning. The car fell silent. The dark circles and his gray complexion proved he lacked both sleep and sunshine. A blink of his eye, a quick turn of his head from the front seat to the back, and my stomach was in my throat. His smile, already fleeting, evaporated.Our driver shifted nervously and, voice slightly shaking, muttered something hastily in Arabic. But the guard just stared through the back window at my brother. I wasn’t intimidating to him but my brother was. We needed a Lebanese passport or a permit, we had neither. The guard stood fast.

Our driver continued blabbering. I understood only a word—an important one—my family name, “Rashid.” At this, the guard seemed willing to hear him out. He gave us all one last doubtful glance-over, stepped back from the car, and motioned us through.

We were in.

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