Tayelet (4) – 2003.

Tayelet.

We’re sitting in the VW Gulf, at the tayelet near Ramat Rachel, me and Shachar.

That’s it, he says.

His eyes are drawn to me and my eyes are drawn to Jerusalem, dark and naked in front of us.

It takes a lot for me to turn my head and look at him; my eyes hit the side of his olive face and I lower my gaze quickly before he turns to meet my own pale features.

It’s hard to imagine I’ll be living here next year.
I feel white and small as I say this.
You know for sure?
Well… I mean, yeah…
You can’t know yet.
He shifts his body in the driver’s seat so he can look fully towards me.
It doesn’t matter if I can or can’t. I have to.
You put all this pressure on yourself; that is no good, Elizabet…

I hate when he talks like this. Like he knows all because he is older, because he’s seen things, because he was unlucky or lucky enough to have been born here, in the middle of my dream.

You have to take it slowly, don’t tell people right away; I’m not saying don’t come, definitely you should come, but slowly, if you come you want to make sure you stay, yes? Stages, Elizabet.
Right.
For real, you listening? It’s not an easy thing, it’s not a dream, I’ve seen people try and they end up going back. You have so much, so much goodness, and you’ll be fine, but stages, slowly.

He takes my dream and refines it; shaves off the fluffy outside and roughens the smooth edges. His bold eyes scare me in the darkness.

I look straight ahead, at the city.

Yeah.

It’s dark except for all the lights and I wonder how this city has been going for 3,000 years. How it exists when I don’t see it. How day becomes night and night forms day and people are always here, always surrounded by smooth white stones.

Soon he falls asleep, his head in my lap, and I sit back and watch Jerusalem become a city of gold. I inhale the chill August morning air and know that I am ready for what will come.

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