Finding myself in the Middle East

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Moment in Time

The lemon trees outside my window are just as beautiful as they were a few days ago, and the plum tree is even more magnificent. Its covered in tiny white flowers. I have a hard time looking at them though. When I raise the triz in the morning, I give a quick glance to check if it's raining, and then look away, back to my pile of half-packed boxes.

I wish I could be more like Coco-pop, who mixes up her tenses because she has no real sense of time. Maybe then I would be able to enjoy my trees even though they won't be mine anymore, come next week.

What is so strange is how angry they make me, how I don't feel like they are real, how I feel like this whole past year was a lie. It wasn't, right? It happened. I moved to this little haven on the edge of the jerusalem forest, we put down a brand new parquet floor that made the whole apartment light and airy, and we hung outside while the kids splashed in the pool and ate plums straight from the tree for dessert. I went into labor with Turtle here. We had BBQs with friends, my family visited, I did 84,000 loads of laundry, and cleaned double as many dirty diapers. I laughed here, I cried here, I found out that my Bubby had died here and that my father was losing his mind. We celebrated birthdays and got sick and got better and Turtle got his first two teeth. Princess learned how to read here and Coco-pop learned the power of the kvetch here and Outdoorsman got his first real start as a kablan here and I got my first story published. Here.

The house is not the home. The family is the home. So why does everything about this place make me want to eat a pound of Rocky Road and watch Disney cartoons while curled up in a big fluffy blanket?

Maybe because this whole thing remnds me that it is not, after all, mine. That it can be taken away at any second. Therefoore--it was never mine. These were never my lemon trees, never my parquet. Such a strange thing, this need to own a little square of the earth, even if that square of earth is not on the ground, but on a fourth floor somewhere. A little tiny box in the sky, and we sqeeze it to our chests and hold it depserately, as if it grounds us, as if it proves us real.

One apartment or another--what is the difference? Really, what? So we will be inconvenienced for a few weeks, moving. So I will not have my bit of outside. I have to say goodbye to my trees.

I have what is important. And I have my memories of this past year.

Now, if only I had enough boxes.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


It was to be a Day of Discovery.

That’s what the sign said, anyway.

I love museums, but being thirteen, I was obligated to roll my eyes, just a bit,

at the window of bubbles.

the bike that powers a windmill,

and to edge away from the huge doorway that announces your height and weight.

I had gained twenty pounds and six inches overnight

and stood uncertainly in my new size 8 ½ shoes.

This too, was new, that my older siblings were out with friends,

and I, the middle child,

too old for the younger kids, to young for the older kids,

was pushing the stroller, in charge of the matzah and eggs and chocolate and cheese.

My father was last up the steps, past the sign.

I heard him breathing.

He leaned against the wall, hands out like a man who was blind,

Trying to make sense of the world with his hands.

I unwillingly caught a glance between my parents.

I looked instead to a one way mirror, and stared at my eyes, my chin, my nose.

Were my eyebrows getting thicker, my nose longer, my chin red?

This whole year had been a fun-house mirror, and I turned back to my parents,

Which was a mistake.

There was a man and he was bringing a wheelchair. It was yellow, and

who was it for?

Someone old.

Someone else.

“Do you need a wheelchair at all, sir?”

but how ridiculous, he will say no--He is not old

or someone else

But then he sat down

(on that silly--does he see it’s yellow?--)

and suddenly, he was.

He was there in the mirror, too,

and so was I, a child adult in height,

features strange and unfamiliar,

a glint of silver earrings, (forbidden by my school) visible when I shook my head no, no.


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