Shachar took me to a part of older Jerusalem one night, after shutting his law books and telling me –
“Elizabet – we’re going out.”
It was cool air we stepped into from his father’s white VW Gulf and I welcomed the night breeze up my skirt. We held hands as we crossed the dusty road; my flips flopped against the hard stones. He playfully taunted the squealing cats and I giggled, feeling where I belonged. We passed the laughing cafes and came to a crooked row of olden houses.
“These were Arabs, an Arab neighborhood before…” he trailed off and the houses picked up where his voice had left. Looking around politely, I suddenly felt very American as I noticed what made these houses so old, so wise.
I settled out of my American discomfort and into what I was watching: pale stones swaying in the midnight Jerusalem breeze. I let it sink in, the fact of it all, the nature of it, life and death and telling-stones. I looked over at him and he was already paces ahead.
Shachar, the Israeli, was not apologetic.