Shadi sucks on two cigarettes at a time, the twin smoke curling up the side of his right arm like conjoined snakes. The Bethlehem air is crisp and wet; the main street hums with traffic. “Life has a beginning and an end, just like these cigarettes,” he says, pinching them between his calloused fingers. Shadi arches his eyebrow at me, squinting in the muted sunlight streaked across his face. He offers me his L&M
pack. I take the last one, and we sit on the curb, silently smoking, watching the three bluish-gray plumes wind themselves up over our heads, dissipating across the concrete rooftops of Dheisheh camp, joining with the hazy fog cover, and settling, invisibly, into the atmosphere, to mingle with the ghosts.