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Friday, October 3, 2003

Intifada

A Cyclopean eye blinking on the answering machine:



This is Shlomi speaking. I'm in your son's unit. You can call me at my parents' house, I'll be there later tonight. Call us, we have a message for you.

Call me, this is Shlomi. This is a second message. Call me.



Pressing on switches, mechanically, with efficiency borrowed from the world of actions. Light and soul focused on the telephone. Leafing through the diary, to find the father's home phone number.



"Yes, I know. I let Robin take care of it. They told her not to make a big stir. Alright, alright, I'll come to the lawyer's."



She punches the pillow like a face; he knew and didn't tell her and she hasn't been told all day. Quickly, she washes the tears off her face, to focus on the actions.

The telephone rings.



"Robin. I want to come to the meeting with the lawyer."

Why such force, as if pushing a foot in through an open door.



From the taxi the street seems full of noisy carefree people, whole families, rushing to get to the shops before closing time. Head leaning forward, like someone swimming with a child on her back, she answers the driver, who wants to know who he's got in his car, this job is always such a danger, who doesn't come into this car, drugs, criminals, whores, I could write a book. And this one, what's the matter with her. Running out of the taxi, disappearing into a stairwell. On drugs?



The lawyer Mr. Fields sees a woman with uncombed hair, burning blue eyes, a body carrying a sign, Mined Area. The woman slides her hand over the counter's polished wooden surface: A new office? Nice carpets.

Yes, after a long service. Know the system well. Still have fresh connections, can exchange informal opinions, leap over the hurdles of military bureaucracy. I can call a friend in the middle of the night, and ask for something. I would be answered. You don't know why he was arrested? We've just spoken to somebody from his unit. They picked him up at a demonstration, because he was wearing his army boots."



Yes, they picked him up at a demonstration because he left his army boots on, she says in the same voice with which she used to recount how when he was two years old he once spread cinnamon on the new upholstery when she was speaking on the phone for too long, and how she hugged him for his cleverness and innocence.



"Not a wise thing to do," the lawyer puts on a judicial robe.

Ah, if we always acted with wisdom, we wouldn't need lawyers.

*

Excerpt from Sodot (A Minyan of Lovers)

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