Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Today must be what friends are referring to when, in hushed tones, they pointedly ask: "How's Raphael doing with the move?"
Today on the playground, he stood watching the other Israeli kids playing with each other. No one even looked at him. And generally he's the kid all the other kids latch onto - effervescent, evocative, bubbling...
So as he stood watching, he began sucking his thumb. 1) he's tired 2) he's scared 3) he's unhappy.
The answer came rapidly enough as he suddenly burst into tears and folded into my open arms moaning: "I miss my friends. I want to play with my friends. I want Elijah" (his best friend from San Francisco)...
God my heart was breaking, my eyes were swimming and I would have done anything in the world to make him feel better...
Now that glittery, fairy lights have faded a bit, I begin recalling the reasons I left this country in the first place. But leaving is no longer an option - moving back was a life decision looming larger than a bad day or a dishonest salesperson.
And this decision forces me to sit with the feelings of frustration, the anger and the utter seething, instead calling upon breathing techniques, relaxation exercises and letting go mantras inclusive of offering a sweet to the banker I've just cussed out.
Through this I realize that the small things are what wear a being down here, rubbing away layers of skin until exhaustion sets in and the exposed, raw feeling becomes akin to a toughened piece of meat that's been hanging in the sun too many days on end.
Things like the security guard at the interior ministry who, attempting to exert some semblance of authority, says you can't get in to see a clerk unless you return with missing documents X, Y and Z. So you heed his recommendation - he's there day in and day out so he must know - and return 2 days later documents in fist, pants clinging to toochas from 30-degree heat and 70% humidity. This time the guard nods approval but once seated opposite the clerk, she informs that document W is the one you really need.
Or going to the bank to open an account only to discover there's a computer indication next to your name prohibiting opening an account. The bank rep can't say what that indication is all about and to no avail explanations of having closed up everything properly prior to exiting the country a decade earlier. Also, never mind that the computer entry was input a full two years after departure. And even further, never mind that you ring up the bank lady who handled your account ten years ago - who now, for obvious reasons, goes by "Harella" rather than "Hulda" - and although she sees no computer entry by your name suggests that you "come in anyway to talk with the branch manager".
Like I have nothing better to do. Like isn't this the same manager who, on the day I came in 15 years ago to withdraw funds for purchasing a car said it wouldn't be possible until I threw a very vocal tantrum in the middle of his bank prompting a sudden freeing up of funds on his part?
No wonder Hulda, aka Harella sounded nervous when I identified myself. She probably thought I'd blow a gasket over the phone.
I haven't had cigarette cravings like this in years...
Thursday, September 22, 2005
It's been nearly a month now since we landed in Tel Aviv...not an easy touchdown what with Tonny being stopped at the airport for having a passport that looked like - as described by the border policeman who stepped outside the interrogation offices to brief me - "taped together pieces of paper that the dog chewed up"...
He would've been flown back to San Francisco upon arrival for lack of cleaner identifying paperwork had it not been for the kind, Danish consulate attache who taxied to the airport, verified his identity and issued him a temporary passport on the spot. Meanwhile, myself, 3-year-old child, dog and 8 overstuffed pieces of luggage waited 2 hours for him to be released following our 24-hour journey. No refreshment, change of clothing or room to move about since once we passed customs we wouldn't be allowed back in to verify Tonny's status.
Finally decided it was too much what with head swirling, feeling faint and knowing that I must get child and dog out of there regardless of whether or not father was sent back to U.S. Taxied into Tel Aviv and that's where it all began... Tonny was released, by the way. He lost his entire wallet, with temporary passport, two days later but that's another entry...
Weeks later, it feels like months. One thing that continues to amaze is how animal-like we humans are vis a vis sense of smell and sound. In other words, the smells and sounds are bringing back memories like mad. Smells of the petrol in traffic, of sun dried dog poo on the sidewalks, of dill in a vegetable salad, the Carmel market, sweaty bodies on a crowded bus, pigeons cooing in the morning, birds singing, the musty, seaweed odor of the tepid, Mediterranean waters.
It is wonderful being back. It feels like home. I'll give it a bit before I start to scream at everyone and blow my cool all over the place. I'm thinking Zen..Karma...(yeah, right)