(From the marketplace in Jaffa, Israel. Photo by me.)
Early this afternoon, I saw M, on her way through Manhattan to JFK to catch a flight to Israel. She was with two other people, also going to Israel on her trip (Birthright), and I was thoroughly, nerdily excited about talking to them before they left on their adventure. I looked at their itinerary and told them where I’d been and that they should probably decide now how much/little sleep they really needed.
As we waited for their shuttle to JFK, M asked me for last minute advice. I told them to look out the window, drink water, wear a hat (yeah, obviously I’ve staffed before), and ask their questions. “Really,” I said. “Ask them.”
Then the van came, and I gave M some money, “to give to someone in Israel,” hugged her a lot, and got on the subway.For a few solid, delicious minutes, I let myself imagine that I was going, too. I thought about what I’d read on the plane (The Heart Says Whatever, by Emily Gould), where I’d go first (Rehavia, the café I like next to the ice cream store that has the benches with the big pillows on them), what I’d do, other than write-go to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and on Friday, a Sheik Jarrah demonstration. I’d wander around, smelling the air, freakishly, delightedly. Before long, I’d become wrapped up in the same moral and religious quandaries that I always am, the peculiar kind of hurt that happens nowhere other than in Israel.
For now, though, underground, moving fast, smushed against other sweaty bodies, I swim in these thoughts, and in my head, it is good.