When the siren went off, the kids were playing in the park. Childhood interrupted. They were there with friends of ours’ from Cleveland who had just arrived. David and I were no where to be found. We were in Yerushalayim eating hamburgers with my parents and siblings.
Yael took charge. She ushered everyone into the basement of the shul to wait it out. She brought everyone home, set up a movie and attempted to repair some of the psychological damage done. How does a 14 year old become so wise? so practical? so immune to the intensity of the experience?
Last night, Yael, Yoni and I head out to a wedding. David stays behind because the three little boys are too scared to be left with a babysitter. To get married at the start of war is to take everything that is pure and innocent and full of hope and paint it over with just a hint of despair. The bride’s brother was released from the army for a few hours just as the wedding began. She had been told he wouldn’t be coming.
I didn’t let go of my phone for most of the night. My cousin texted that they were in their stairwell in Tel Aviv. Friends around the country posted or texted as the sirens went off. And we are dancing. And hugging. And happysad.
Our adopted group of favorite people get up to do a dance for the bride and groom. They are 24 years old. They are gorgeous. And they are way calmer than I am. These are the kids that are about to get called up, back in to the army. They check their phones. They seem carefree. I am the opposite. I am care full. I had wanted to leave earlier. As the barrage of missiles kept coming, I just wanted to be home. But these kids really wanted me at their dance and I wanted to be happy for a few more minutes. So I stayed. If only so that I had a few more minutes of watching them be together. Of watching them be young and happy.
I drove home behind my neighbors. I asked them to wait and to drive with me because I was afraid to drive alone. And then I offered up a silent prayer and raced home to beat out the sirens in Jerusalem and the Gush.
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