I’m in the car with my best friend, and we’ve just had lunch at this quiet, quaint restaurant with huge windows so close up to the Old City walls it’ll make you gasp- hippie bowls of grains with roasted vegetables and a big, oil-slicked plate of glossy green lentils her baby couldn’t stop grabbing. We’re about to make a left onto my street, when suddenly police cars come wailing past, followed by big trucks carrying horses, vans with police dogs, and then: ambulances. We’re stuck in the middle lane, so there’s not much we can do. We alternate between closing the windows to keep the noise out, and opening them to try and understand what’s going on. The Old City is sprawled out to our right, majestic and strong.
I refresh the news ticker on my iPhone: nothing yet. When I get home, I sit on the couch and learn that two soldiers were shot, and a few minutes later, one has died. Female, twenty. Helicopters hover low in the sky.
My neighbors call: Are you ok? Did you hear the gunshots?
My landlord threatens to increase my rent because the air-conditioning- that has not been installed yet- has added value to the property.
When he comes to visit for the first time in two and a half years, he calls to ask for directions. A few minutes later, he calls back, saying he drove straight into the Arab side. His voice is anxious, full of panic.
I want to say: This is where I live.
Around the corner, people are getting stabbed, killed. I leave my house with a can of pepper spray in my hand, at the ready.
In winter, my house is so cold that I sleep with socks, sweaters, a hot water bottle, the radiator next to my bed turned to the highest dial. I’m still cold.
He says: I can replace you easily. Read more…