Sometimes you say, even after so many years, you think of her. I look at you quite astonished because most of your sentences, no non of your sentences begin like this. But this one does. I was seventeen by then, you tell me further and you look at your fingertips. Seventeen, most of the day dreaming of girls. Lonely, at home from boarding school but not at home anymore. But maybe it was never a home at all. Of course it was an all boy and boys only boarding school. Everything was forbidden. But girls were most forbidden. Your smile does not reach your eye wrinkles. We did not spoke about anything else than girls. Everyone told the most fantastic stories about what was going on. Who planned to lay whom on a party. Who had the most impressive stories to tell about the most adventurous things to be done with girls. But in reality no one of us even dared to ask a girl out for the movies or even to kiss her on a cheek or at both. But girls were everywhere. Everywhere else. My father you say further, but you know all of his, always had girls around him to forget my mother even sooner. I know and I do not know. It was a dull summer, you say, the days were full of boredom and sport, sport and boredom and dreams of girls, dreams of another life, you dreamt of big travels and real girls at college. It was the summer, when your father decided to let the garden be redesigned. In the first week only a man showed up to dig in the ground, to cut down trees, to remove hedges and to carry big bags of foil and fertilizers. But in the following weeks a woman joined the man within the garden. You cough for a moment and you look at me and I look at you and your knee is close to my knee and you are going on. They were a couple as I realized soon, both in her thirties or something. I couldn’t help to stare at her, to look how she moved her thighs and stretched her arms. I spent afternoon after afternoon staring at her. One day I think she realized that she had a silent observer behind the curtains. She looked back at me, smiling. But I, I was too ashamed, hiding within the room. But I left the window of my room open, so I could hear her voice from time to time, and his voice too a yelling, loud voice rough from many years of endless smoking. And then one day, suddenly I heard her screaming and the she started to cry. When I looked out of the window, I saw the man grabbing her hardly at one arm, shaking her heavily so that she fell. Than he rushed away in anger. But I saw my chance coming and rushed down the stairs, there she sat, unbelievable sad. Of course I wanted to beat up the man who did this to her. But he had already left the building. She cried hysterically. I searched for a tissue and put my arm around her. How marvelous this felt. I felt like in heaven. I took her for a walk through the garden, showed her my hidden tree-house in the old oak. Up there she told me that her partner did not beat her up for the first time, that she wanted to leave him but had no money at all. You laugh out bitterly but don’t stop to talk. I told her, I want and I could help her out. And immediately she started to cry again. I told her, that I had money in my room and would like to do nothing more than to give it to her. She stopped crying, smiled at me, took my hand and l felt her breasts under my fingertips. It felt like losing my mind. But she reminded me of how important the money was, that she was afraid that her man would come back soon, too soon. And I ran back to the house, into my room and got the money for her. I forgot how much it was, 5.000 Pound or something. Money ,I earned by doing little jobs for my father. I gave her all the money and she kissed me again, saying that she would call me as soon as possible when she found a place somewhere safe to stay. I heard violins playing. She went off. Not without giving me a little photograph of her own. I heard more violins playing, the angels started to sing and I did not even dare to imagine that I should be the chosen one who might in near future would lay his hands on her breasts again. But I did not by then that I would never see her again. I waited in front of the telephone for many days and even back in boarding school I waited that someone would call me to tell me that someone, that she has asked for me. She never did. But a few months later, a guy from school, showed me and all the others standing nearby a small photograph, telling the most adventurous stories of his new flame. I knew the woman on the photograph already, the same photograph I was hiding myself in my wallet. But it took many months and years more to learn, that she never even planned to come back. But in the end I learned and I understood. Many girls came, you say, but you do know this already, often I was convinced of myself that I had forgotten her, but today I thought of her, felt like I could catch her perfume somewhere in the air, looked around if she did not would show up at the next corner. But no one was there. Sometimes, you still can see her, you finish your sentence. I can’t see your face anymore in the dark room, but your knees are still close to mine, I touch your cheeks and your cheeks are wet and we both know.
Such a summer is it that the red currants shimmer white, red and black in the bushes, the blackbirds are wandering through the grass and the cat just lies there too lazy to get up chasing after them. Such a summer is it. My nieces are dancing under the watering can and they laugh and laugh all day long. Gently blows the wind through my hair and heavy are the rose leaves, which are falling in my hands scenting like the drawer of my grandmother where next to her white pearl necklace, always rose leaves dried and smelled exactly like those in my hands. Cool is the watermelon, her skin of a deep green, marbled with lighter spots, and of a sweet, ladylike pink is the flesh, ice-cold in my mouth and my teeth click at the pitch black kernels. The blackberries are not yet black, the still wait for their time to come, the apple tree are thirsty and drink to the fullest. The plum-tree smiles gently, looking proud of his already light blue treasures, the grass is long and in between bloom white daisies, my nephew counts all the clouds and the clouds are passing slow, so he does not miss a single one. In the hammock, the gently wind sings songs for them and the hundred year old stones under my feet are brown and warm, till late in the evening when the birds sleep and the children dream of another day, where they might try to eat ten scoops of ice. Such a summer is it.
Just wait minute, says Colleague B. to me and I nod and take a seat. Colleague B. is always busy and there is always something on. Something important, of course. At the door-handle cling numerous ties. They look expensive, boring and this alone makes them a perfect match for colleague B. Somewhere a telephone rings endlessly and I wait for 8….9….10…11 seconds till I can hear B. screaming loudly, why no one in this hell of an office is able to answer a telephone. While this happens at least twice a day, no one cares anymore, just the rubber-plant in the corner of B.’s office is shaking its thick leaves a bit or maybe sings quietly: It’s time for another revolution. I listen to B.’s voice on the floor, all idiots, he says to a counterpart I can’ see. I already know that sorting things out with B. will never ever be fun, because B. knows everything and of course everything better. B. sees himself as a real guy, it took him quite a long time to learn that my name is not “hey” or “girl” even if he shouted like an old ban dog. You can smell B. when you walk along the floor, he is very aviricious with everything but not with his after-shave. He sees himself as the only one who is organized, tidy and structured, the born leader and he should be something else than he is, among us idiots as he again shouts across the floor. Idiot, is after”cunt” his second favorite word. I close my eyes for a minute or two and when I open them again, I see and its for the first time I do so, B. must have been in a real hurry this time, that two drawers of his desk aren’t closed, and obviously colleague B. has a very interesting hobby, or may I better say a collection. But don’t expect stamps ( how boring ), teddy-bears ( how bizarre ), porn-magazines ( how ordinary ), but a massive collection of used paper tissues, piling up till the edge of the drawers is reached and maybe these are only the collection’s highlights, the Picasso’s and Van Gogh’s of his masterpieces, maybe in the closets of his office even more of these treasures are to be found,and so I ask myself, might it be possible that in the apartment if B., in a golden frame, the first tissue ever used by B. is presented to the astonished visitors?
A few weeks ago, the man on the market who usually sells vegetables and fruits was missing. At first I thought he just went on holidays, probably to some place where no fruit or vegetables were bothering his mind. But than rumors arrived,that something has happened. But what happened exactly no one knew. The stories grew wild and wilder as fruit or vegetable does in the summer, when there is enough rain and I often thought of the man, his always earthy fingers, his green apron and his chariot where all the goods were piled up high. And I thought of his fields and his garden and how it might feel for men who always earth crumbs beyond his nails not to be able to be outside to look after the salads, the carrots, let alone the raspberries and strawberries, all this gold of summer. Then I went away, I bought fruits and vegetables else where, slept under a cherry tree and have had red fingers for two days of cherry harvest. When I returned I heard that the man from the market was back, but the queues who always had been long at this stall, in front of his wooden chariot were missing. There was rumor, people were saying that he lost his mind. But I never trust rumor and I am not sure if I myself did lost my mind many years ago and so I went as usual to the man on the market, to buy vegetables and fruits. The man did not look good. The man looked beaten. Beaten up. His eyes were restless and flickering, the movements of his hands and limbs delayed like in a slow-motion scene. While he fills my bags with leek and carrots, grabs peas and a cauliflower and I am not sure what to ask, because: are you alright would be just cynical when someone is so obvious not alright at all, he begins to tell me that out of the blue, very sudden the trees wanted him evil. I nod. He rolls his eyes up and down. They just waited for the right moment he says and I search for a tenner. Maybe the trees I start to say something helpless, but he interrupts me and points at a small, tiny laurel-tree in front of a gate, he says the tree are listening very well. So I grabbed my bags and left. It’s good to have you back, say I ,but the vendor looks at me with deep distrust as he could not be sure anymore that I am not hand in gloves with the trees myself. A few days later, at the dentist I learn by someone who knows the vendor’s wife that he has tried to fell two trees in his backyard but something went wrong and he got hit by the massive tree, spent weeks in the hospital and it is not quite sure if he ever will recover from a tree, he wanted to fell, falling down and left alone with the evil.
The old uneasiness grows during the days and I run back and forth, to phone friends to reassure myself that they are still there and will be so tomorrow. The old danger crawls upon my back while reading the news, while looking at the pictures, while hearing the news of rockets reaching so many well-known names of streets and places, while scanning the faces on the screen if I know someone among them shown. I don’t ,but the fear remains with me all day long and longer. Rockets are reaching Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem it is not far to the small village where my grandmother and my grandfather arrived in 1947. They arrived not in a safe place, but they survived and this was all what counted. The war started soon enough, not even a year after they came to Israel. The war was won, but the war did not end all wars, the war just returned again and again, my grandparents left for Europe but this is another story, but the war is still there, sometimes is more silent and sometimes, as in the last two days, becomes louder and louder, is transformed in a news-stream where you can see where the air raid is going, where siren sound is to hear, how many rockets Iron Dome intercepts and you can get sad and sadder of all the people, who lose home and are embedded in the same fear, but most of the time with no chance for shelter. The heartbeat follows the news at radio Galgalatz, the army station and won’t calm down, thinking of those who go into the war, en brera,there is no choice and hard and harder it gets not to lose hope after all this years, where the war returns and returns in an endless loop.
“It is all over.” says my dear friend E. followed by a very strong definitely and a very finite: irrevocable. Never ever will she return into the life and flat, she shares since five years with the no less dear friend T. And so my half eaten Croissant falls down on the ground and possibly only the sparrows, who are excited about their extended breakfast, are happy about the sudden silence, between E.’s shocking sentence and the pastry, tumbling downward. She is well aware, says E. further that her recent 35 birthday does not make things any easier, every year counts twice now, she emphasis because it’s not easy anymore to attract the attention of a possible man in a bar, when you are surrounded by twenty-two year old girls with the very same aim but no past and even more important with no cellulite, the evil of all the evils. E. looks even more distracted then before. I look distracted too, but not because of cellulite but of the fact that I can not imagine one single fact, who brings together a “never ever ” and dear T. is good-looking man, but not too good-looking, he has a job somewhat with accounting the title, not too absorbing but not boring either, he is not obsessed with soccer but delighted to accompany you in an opera and seems to be overall a very agreeable contemporary. Same has to be said about E. a charming lady, with a great smile, a funny wit, a tough business ( somewhat with consulting in the title ), good-looking with great lack curls, talented and truly adorable. We all looked with great pleasure on this very nice couple and waited not if but when the marriage was to be expected. But this does only mean that we were all proven wrong. It happened, so E. on a very ordinary, not very sunny but in no ways rainy sunday in the already mentioned shared and very commodious apartment. And as on nearly every Sunday, T. boiled eggs for E. and for himself. His three minutes, hers five. And this was the moment when it all began to happen, what destroyed the bright and extraordinary delightful atmosphere forever. E. namely did not join her darling in breaking the egg, as she tended to do normally, but started to look for the very first time closely and directly at dear friend T. habit and face while he ate his egg. And what she saw, so E. became a terrible sight. T. so E. did not only use pepper, salt and a good shot of tabasco sauce, already a first sign of the rupture of civilization that would shortly follow and stirring those ingredients wildly together but then and E. is nearly indifferent while remembering the scene, did not use a spoon to scoop down the disgusting mixture, but took the egg between two fingers, gulping, smuggling and smacking the egg with utter and great delight. Traces of Egg yolk, tabasco sauce and tiny bits of the eggshell remained in T.’s face, who smiled in his usual way, asking E. kindly if he should break her egg too. But E. shaken by disgust, denied, leaving the breakfast table immediately, leaving the flat, while realizing with increasing clarity, as she tells me that she lived together with a man who gulped down his egg in the very same way on every sunday. And this doing of such a barbarous notion is something she won’t be able to do and to see again. Not now, not ever. And she knows, finishes E. that she will have less and less chances with every year.