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.
“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.”
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.
Soldiers are not fair game. Not here. They aren't nameless, they aren't headlines, they aren't one in 200,000,000 people. They're yours. Your child. Your sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend...friend. They go home on weekends and dream of lazy days and careers and beers and beaches and mama's cooking, of their dogs and their dog eared books, of the rave they might go to or the class they might excel in... of freedom and the life yet to be lived. You can throw any of the political science books you want at me. They are not fair game.