He takes me to the water tank. We walk through fields of wheat, tall and gold with the setting sun. My hair is long, and still a little red from that time I dyed it after our first date. He’s wearing jeans and a short black t-shirt. There’s a ladder leaning up the side of the tank; he says from the top there’s a view of all of Yavne. We climb up and our feet dangle over the rusty metal sides. The view stretches out far and wide, at the edges stone houses lay in ruins. He points to them, and tells me that his grandmother exchanged her old stone house for a modern apartment in the housing projects, a house with fields. He says: “Imagine what that would have been worth now”.
He takes me by the hand and leads me back to the pickup truck. I like the contrast between his rough exterior and how gentle he is with me.
He has one hand on the wheel, the other on my thigh; sunglasses shield his light green eyes. He reaches for the pack of cigarettes, places one between his lips, fiddles with the car lighter, twisting it around the end of his cigarette until the flame catches. When we turn onto his parents’ street, neighbors are out washing their cars, walking their dogs, lingering in the last rays of sun. They come up to the windows to say hello.
The door to his parent’s house is open, scents of cooking waft out. His mother rushes out to greet us, calling his name.
She sets things out for us on the kitchen table, even though the large white table in the dining room is already set for dinner and we’ll be eating there soon. She’s been cooking all day, and there’s a big, puffy, golden roll of pastry stuffed with beef, grilled chicken with garlic and rosemary, smoky roasted eggplant, matbucha shiny with oil. She sets down the heavy, shallow pot with fish drowning in a spicy Moroccan sauce, and he drags a piece of challah through it, leaving a trail in the deep red sauce, the bread dripping as he brings it to his mouth.
Later he’ll go out with his friends and I’ll wait for him in his childhood bedroom flipping through magazines. The sheets have this particular damp smell to them; his mother often forgets them in the washing machine. The room is his little sister’s now and there’s a turquoise wall, thin lace curtains at the window, a big pile of stuffed animals. I can hear the television on in the other rooms.
He feels strange to me, a mystery, an enigma; but then I feel strange to myself. Words don’t come easy. And yet there’s something about the physicality of him that makes me feel safe, makes me feel at home, makes me feel wanted.
They’ll ask: Did you see any signs along the way? I didn’t. Read more…