I don’t make a habit of visiting graves. As someone who is obviously capable of being quite emotional, I wait until my heart tugs before take a visit to the military part of the Maskeret Batya cemetary.
For me, it’s always a whole scenario, there’s always some song playing on the airwaves that jerks a tear from my eyes, and I start remembering the smallest of details, not necessarily to do with Tsiki, but remnants of who I remember myself to be during that time. I thought a lot about bicycles, about humidity, and mangoes. Man, I love mangoes. Fellow Peace Corps volunteers would bring them to me as presents when it was hard to find them in a market. They would wrap them like a gift and I would excitingly open them as such, putting them in the fridge until they cooled and would scoop them heartedly into my mouth.
I’m sitting there. With my fingers twisting through my scalp, looking at the graves around me. I take off my hat and lay it next to me. And wait- within moments the innocent tears of sorrow need no invitation to fill my eyes and my back hunches to create a shadow over his grave. I hear a bike stroll up and am too embarrassed to show I’m crying, this stranger will see the date on the headstone and wonder why a young woman could still cry like this. Soon enough, Amos- Tsiki’s brother in law sits next to me, his shoulders leaning against mine. He places his palms on the marble and greets Tsiki’s grave.
“How do you think his Hayal Amit feels? The one who’s bullet hit him?” I ask Amos as I clean away my tears.
“I couldn’t say sooz, I couldn’t say.” as he gets up and looks at the other graves. “Ah, two new ones”. “Actually” I correct him”, one new one, the other one was a few months after Tsiki, it’s been here for a year.”
“They never did an investigation.” Amos starts. “If they did, a commander would have gone to court, some justice would have been made from this freak accident. That guy over there, from the Lebanon war, died for nothing.. for nothing. Nothing has come out of these deaths except pain and sorrow.” He tells me with frustration.
I never thought of Tsiki’s death as needing an investigation, then again- I’ve never been part of this world, for me- i don’t know if any justice could be made, nothing mends a broken heart except time. I wonder why I never needed justice to be served- I supposed at the end of the day, I don’t care about justice or right or wrong, selfishly- i want it to be someone Else’s loss.
Amos and I start reminiscing of 2004. “It was the best year of my life” I start. “I had my cakes and ate them thrice, that year-I knew the true essence of the raw beauty of life, and I ate it hungrily ,insatiably.” Amos, stands there- leaning against his mountain bike. “It was Tsiki’s best year as well, it’s what pure love is made of- unadulterated romanticism, it’s a rare form Susi, dating these days has become quite shallow, all stuffed into a box- passion is often lost with logic, based on jobs and going out.”
Ah 2004! the pinnacle of the essence of everything that I was. The single year that would define the rest of my life- my introduction to Israel, where I am now. Relationships are obviously heavily on my mind, I think about myself, my friends, my Israeli friends and their loves, I had a long talk with Tsiki’s best friend last night. And when he talks about the love in his life, it’s beautiful, even when he voices his worries. The connection they have, that has spanned 3 years from different continents, it’s undoubtedly product of fate. Many aspects of their relationships mirror the drive that brought me to Israel, and whenever I think of them- I pray that they’ll keep that passion and romanticism for each other. That passion alone can move a mountain. The possibilities of those two make me surprisingly excited and happy, if my story hasn’t ended as a fairytale, perhaps their’s will.
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