This was the first time I cried. I broke down in front of those elasticated barriers that zig zag towards security stations at Trudeau airport. People consciously ignored me, in that uncomfortably, strained, polite way people usually behave with at airports.
Even though I don’t walk around with a sense of wonder anymore, my chest lifts with relief when I’m twisting up the hill on highway one. Magical may be far fetched, but there is a supernatural quality, an easiness and earthiness and timelessness in the air of this city.
We're out of the cab on our way to Kikar Safra, the square in front of City Hall where a bimah was erected and sober revellers would unselfconsciously dance those Zionistic dances out of step. The ones they learnt in gan and elementary. The ones immortalised by women wearing shorts and white shirts in black and white photos. The ones they saw in historical videos of kibbutz life and that moment when Independence was declared.
It's never like in the movies. There's always a sad score in movies. The person looks pretty vibrant and alight under their oxygen mask. There's a hitch in the heart monitor. That's how they always do it. Then a few seconds later. Beeeeeeeeeep. That's not how it happens. That's almost never how it happens.
It's almost summer. And you know what that means. Jean cutoffs. Tank tops. Crop tops. Rompers in floral or tribal print. Chambray everywhere. Don't worry. I too feel that same heat induced outbreak of nervous eczema that comes with having to expose more skin.
“You know where we are?” Uncertainty suddenly flooded through me. Did we turn off the 375 when I wasn’t paying attention? “Eh…” I stuttered, worried I was at the mercy of a strange man on a back road. “Emek Ha’Elah.”
Stop. Stop trying to make yourself smaller and and flatter. JUST STOP. When you laugh you need your whole body, and the flatter you try to make yourself the sadder the world becomes. Don’t do that.
How does one climb out of rock bottom?Lists, a life coach will tell you.Retracing steps.Visualising success. Doing what you love. So I made a list and the first thing on it was retracing my steps to the place I first fell in love.
Purim, stubbornly and bombastically reminds us, even when things are impossible and sad and the wound is always opening and that loneliness and fear looms, we are alive. We are ALIVE. And we belong. Here, in Jerusalem.
And unlike Devorah and Sarah, and even Rachel and Leah (I have a soft spot for Leah), she’s destined for greatness. She’s not meant to be a victim. She is the descendent of King Saul. She has the blood of royalty in her. But also the blood of failure. She has Saul’s demon to fight and she knows it.