Monthly Archives: March 2002

the tide is in, the sea swirls around wooden pegoda beams. it churns wildly kicking up sand, successive white-capped pale green. surrounded by driftwood and crunchy rain-assaulted tufts of beach with foot prints. listening to a mix of songs that danny made me..it’s the most calming escape. it’s like touching a familiar playground…solid…always there.

so many thoughts… don’t know where to begin. tsafi says fear is the fastest emotion to feel. just like hate. and that people back home are introducing fear into me again. “look at your face!” he says and i turn to the mirror looking for smudges or a pimple but he says “look…at your face!” and i see my eyes big and my mouth tight. i look…scared. how did this happen? i was doing just fine. people send me emails in capital letters to come home, send me magazine articles saying it’s going to get worse. i went thru alternative possibilities just a few weeks ago; even going so far as to book my one-way ticket home but had since come to the conclusion to stay where tsafi is. nothing works if we’re not together. i can only hope that my friends help me find more of my strength and less of my fear. it’s easy to panic. it’s easier to doubt. i’m practicing now dealing with my fear for myself and dealing with the concern of everyone back home. practicing saying ‘i’m ok’. tsafi’s eyes peirce through me as i gather my music and journal to go enjoy the sun after not being outside for two days. he asks me to shut the door and sit and talk with him. i lay down on a pillow and we talk. he asks me what i’m afraid of. he’s armed with his history and his theories about how strong the army is. in broad terms, i’m afraid it’s going to get worse, that other countries will get involved. in direct terms, i’m afraid to be walking down something as unavoidable as our own street and get hurt. it’s happened twice on our street over the past three weeks with a few police incidents in between.

the sky darkens. i feel a chill. a puppy comes galloping towards me tripping over his own ears and brings a smile to my face, brings me out of these cloudy thoughts. the waves are breaking closer to me and i put my bag on my lap and bring my legs up but i do not run away…not just yet. i look up to see how long the sun will be away and it just seems to be in the thick of its cloud now…

“remember the summer?” tsafi says and we smile remembering lying all day in the sun, playing in shallow lagoons, talking and relaxing. it will be like that again very soon….

the death toll was up to 19 last i checked… frantic emails from family and friends. i feel so bad to make everyone worry and the truth is that i am worried myself but it’s a kind of feeling where you will wake up the next day and you WILL go to the bank, to the souq, to work. you will continue on but more aware than before, hoping for better times. i am writing now fromt he park with my back to the waves and my sleeves rolled up. there are families dressed festive on top of a rolling hill and a young boy inspecting a stone drinking fountain. i stayed in bed half the day. i had a stress headache. i laid under the covers with a pillow under my knees and neck while tsafi studied by the open window. i was just trying to feel my center of gravity… last night we’d driven home early and we weren’t allowed to drive down the street. we parked by the seasons hotel and walked hand in hand strong onto our sad, afflicted street. we walked in silence and held hands tight thru the rain, passed the armed guard who asked us where we were going and up into our apartment where the phone was ringing off the hook. friends and family of safta’s… the wind was shaking the windows, police lights flashed all down the street while helicopters lit up the night sky. we drove to eyal’s and watched a movie. i passed out on tsafi’s lap and woke up just in time to go home. i wore my winter coat and as we walked back to the car up from the moshav i found a sad peace in how the weather was. the rain echoed on my hood~

passover

150 wounded 15 dead. at the park hotel…on our street. i was feeling home sick all day… called home. each year we get together and i sneak wine to my sisters and cousins. i sent them funny e-cards. we went to ben yehuda street to have the seder at tsafi’s parent’s house. i had spent the afternoon shopping for a nice shirt to wear and chopping strawberries that i bought at the souq and shemenet i got at the supermarket. the table was lit with candles and everyone exchanged gifts. i got shoshe and itzik three photos of their kids on one frame. tsafi’s sister, dana, read the four questions. and then his brother, ron, was rockin out with a prayer going faster and faster with each verse. the phone rang. it was the special ring on tsafi’s pelephone thta says the call is from america. it was my dad… wishing us happy passover. at the same moment itzhak’s phone rang too. it was someone telling him of a bomb that had just happened in netanya. i was telling dad how much fun i was having and how i miss him and love him so. and itzik takes the phone from me and tells dad about the the bomb and that i’m ok, being taken care of. i was entirely oblivious to the fact that it was next door to where we live. someone turned on the television and it showed our street and i was just floored. and i drank a glass of wine, pretended to survey the food and i thought of everyone back home seeing this news with the announcer saying our street ame and i was filled with tears and dana and i went into her room where her dad had taken out the only lightbulb so she lit her yellow glitter lava lamp and her red heart-shaped light and i laid on the bed and brushed it all off, got myself together and went into the kitchen and sat with ron who told me of nervous bus rides. i ate soup and round chocolate cookies and everyone sat in silence around the table in their own heavy thoughts. safta would later scold me for not eating enough. we had just been singing and happy… and then…this….

swimming in wedding plans…happy happy happy! tsafi came up with the idea to have two small gatherings; one at sunset here on the mediteranean where we have the official ceremony and dinner..then a few days later maybe a garden party in the backyard of my childhood home! or maybe someplace nearby to the house… just throwing thoughts around… my heart is singing with this idea..to be dancing in my backyard with everyone… yes…feels right… tsafi and i were sitting by the computer and mixing our practical/creative thoughts. we had one document open called ‘wedding’ and one called ‘apartment’ and we sat and figured things out. we watched ‘ghost dog’ last night with the purple blanket around us and kissing and even though it was late and i hated the movie, i stayed and snuggled…so in love~*~ so now we’re thinking the plan is to do it in june 2003. lots of thoughts..when, how…

saw a dead mouse on the sidewalk yesterda and a stray cat with advanced mange… there are many dogs without mommies just roaming around and some of the cats are so sick, i could cry… it takes a world of strength to leave the house lately…

listening to gabrielle roth walking through new-found paths and i dance to the bus stop. she says ‘no effort’ alot in her dancing meditations and i let go heavy parts and enjoy colors. i’ve been feeling brattishly rebellious lately making bigger-than-necessary issues over doing dishes and folding clothes. safta, although the nicest lady in the world, thinks i can do nothing right. she even corrects me on how to cut cucumbers!

i really still want to go home… my flight is on hold for four more days…it would torture us… it would certainly affect his studies…but my life… it’s just so dangerous… sometimes… it’s like being an ant in the shadow of a bouncing ball and sometimes…i just press on thru in cautious ways minimizing the risk.

last night we walked along the shore’s edge in the dark. i had been crying all day; limp and resigned. i can’t leave him and that’s it… i have to find the strength to adjust here…try harder to find a job… maybe continue one more month here at school. just when i think i’m at the bottom of my well, somehow i gather my corners together and press on…

so i slept four hours last night, dreamless and woke up purring. i dressed in my pink faerie shirt and cargo pants. first day i haven’t worn all black. feels lighter, less hidden…happier… i did my hair, put on lipstick, dug my moonstone out of my jewelry box (which is a round lemon cake tin because all my stuff is in storage) and left the house determined… still don’t have a plan though… and i am again in a bit of a denial about the direct danger here…but…i need to be where tsafi is…

tsafi picks fallen eyelanshes from my cheek and makes wishes. we sit and talk “nothing works if we’re not together,” he said. i’m so torn… in nyc i could be safe(r), make more money, be with my friends and family, in an environment that i understand. but my heart would be here with tsafi. i’ve been here a year already. i’m still not sticking to anything. i’m not willing to risk my life for a 3000 shekels per month job. tsafi has to be here. he has to finish his studies. i…have choices… i love him so… i don’t know what to do. somehow it makes sense to go back to the states. everyone says there will be war here soon. that iraq will bomb us. either i stay here or i leave. my heart will stay here. is there any way for him to come with me? no…. he must finish what he started. and me? what will i do? what should i do? i wish someone would make a decision for me. could i live knowing tsafi is in danger and has to stay here alone? will his studies suffer? ugh… such pain even thinking about this… should i opt for blind happiness and believe more in destiny if something bad should happen? or should i make a practical decision… my life is full of such decisions…hard lefts and hard rights… i’m an american… i have the opportunities of an american… i look at my ring… i’ll be engaged and separated from my love..how can this be? should i stay?

BUT…my family, bicycle trips…baked ziti…manasquan inlet…the bike trail…my uncle’s motorcycle..picnics in the backyard…maybe jen would come up for a weekend. road trips with debbie…the hammock… swing dancing…virgils cheese fries…barnes & nobles, antique stores, saturday nights, squirrels, coffee makers, normal-priced film…BATHTUBS!!…conditioner that works… TROPICANA!!! (or anything without aspertame like here). DRYERS!!!! not like here where you hang soaking wet clothes out the window to dry and 20% of the clothes come out with bird shit on them…hardwood floors…manic panic…vegetarian meals…

BUT…dad says i’m a pioneer! hee hee~*~ israeli pride? no…i mean it’s a tough little country…a place of survival…but it’s just not where i come from…and i was never religious really. my problem with this country is the disorder, lack of variety of thinking. there’s a uniform judgement here. you are good if you do 1,2,3 if you have a,b,c. the floors are always cold and clammy. the clothes are as unstylish as the furniture, which most people throw fabric over. everything as far as walls and tiles go is white or some unnoticable form of off-white. there’s no style here. everyone conforms. the society is strong but irritated, threatened. no one cares about animals here. dogs are run over on streets. cats are treated like rats. and then there’s always the people that say ‘oh, it’s not so bad here’ and those are the ones with wives who cry watching the nightly news. there are bumble bees flying in the windows in class now. everyone gets out of their seats and gently fans them with paper. bees are goddess strength.

sitting in an empty classroom. i just had a good cry, opened the window and now papers are spilling. my socks are two different colors. tears are drying. i can’t leave tsafi. there must be a way to make this work. i need to be with him, no matter what… what was i thinking? the future is nothing without him; we’re a team…i think i’m insane… or confused…and scared…and homesick… maybe i’ll just stay and everything will be ok…

i look at the sky. i wonder if it’s time to go home……….

last night i was home alone. tsafi was studying in tel aviv. safta was playing cards at her friends’ place. i heard sirens…one after another and then in such rapid succession that it was just one loud panic down the street. tsafi’s mother called “are you at home?” “yes.” i told her adn she casually said that ‘something happened’. little did i know that it was on my street! i looked out the window and saw an ambulance maneuvering down the street so fast that one skidded into a parked car. 40 people had been shot by 4 palestineans. they shot dead 3 of them and 1 was still on the run. there were people running places and others, like me, in windowsills in shock. i videotaped to keep sane… i called my father..the television was showing pools of blood in a hotel lobby and a small girl in a black velvet dress walking around it. people with blood dripping. strechers and roadblocks set up all along my street. my hebrew mind shut down and i couldn’t understand incoming calls. i became ‘cheryl korn from howell, new jersey’ for the rest of the night going ‘holy shit!’ in my head. i woke up after a nightmare and proposed to tsafi the idea of me moving back to america to work. “my life…” i said, “is directly in danger.” i’ll die without him, that is for sure but he has to study 12 hours a day until his cpa test anyway..which is in december. we sprinkled sugar on our grapefruits this morning in silence hashing out a plan. i show up to class and people are crying and small birds are hopping around my bag encouragingly and my teacher gives us a pep talk. how this is exactly what the terrorists want; for us to live in fear, to not feel safe on the street, at the sea, at school, shopping. she speaks of ‘gan eden’, the garden of eden. she says the terrorists want us to live in america. well, i don’t need to become a headline to prove anything. twist MY rubber arm, says i!~ my life is in danger…. there are no jobs…maybe i should go home….