Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, along with everything in them. On the Seventh Day G-d was finished with His work which He had made, so He rested on the Seventh Day …
_ _ _
It is those first conscious moments of morning that give a closer meaning to life than any philosopher’s ancient thoughts locked within the musty pages of a neglected volume. The twilight that sets itself obeisant though stubbornly on the riveted stucco walls and wavy plaster fields of shadowed white, prompting images of mountains upon the ceiling adding to the mystery, but incur with the curiosity of life’s questioned inception during those first hazy days of humankind, suspend Aron from any more sleep.
It is not only the grandeur of the sunrise, the colors of its conflagrant opus painting the walls, and the presence of a sexually-active woman in bed beside him that has dispatched any more possibility of rest, but, a true concern serving as a stanch to his indifference constricting Aron’s otherwise relieved thoughts: Syria and Egypt.
It has not been long. With only four hours of solid sleep, Aron battles the illusions of the half-dark, half-awakening room while feeling his girlfriend, Sarah, breathe silently amid the warm incandescence welcomed through the bedroom window. The sentiments of their love-making and closeness emphasized by muscle cradling lover have since faded; replaced by bizarre dreams of the Star of David flowing elementary in the halo of sunlight, so bright he could feel the heat shine through the river and white thread. The shock and awe was all too real for him, as bullets rifled through the fragile fabric, lacerating the banner from symbol to history.
Egypt, in all its determination, is ready to plunge into total war that will be the end of Israel.
No. This is the reality of flesh and blood; plastered beneath the attentive eyes of morning consciousness, running peacefully by the surface but passionately gruesome on the underside, a trope to the critical conditions dissolving any hopes for peace in this Middle Eastern hell.
The terrors of jihad are haunting Aron in his sleep just as they haunt him on the foreign airwaves by sunrise. All of Israel knows. Sarah knows.
Aron turns to find some solace in this reality, and watching his girlfriend’s heavily-lashed lids closed against the tanned ledges of her beautifully thin face, he is filled with the buoyant satisfaction of the yester-night contrastive the odd dreamscapes he had following their exhausting session. He has peace although knowing that they may go to war.
She is lying exactly as she had been falling asleep: arms bending onward her face, hands resting in mingled branches of delicate, ultimately restful fingers; he remembers as he reaches his neck to mark her temple with his lips, halfway buried beneath a white pillow and covers sheltered by a flowing rapids of untamed dark hair.
Aron analyzes instability in his heart as his eyes meet the details of their temporary residence. The still artifacts of elderly idols and wall Hamsas inherited from their relatives who endured the Second World War—cheap amulets of Egyptian origin, renamed “hand of Miriam” by the Jews, notionally defending their owners and trustees from misfortune—displays its aching memory reminiscent through the chips of the glass and the chaffing of the busts. Books both ageless and modern sit stray all over the apartment; casting shadows on the white walls from their towering presence on tables and more orderly shelved residences, creating an illusion of wholeness in a residence otherwise still empty and becoming.
This is Aron and Sarah’s paradise.
“Boker Tov, sweet.”
An irritated murmur quivers hoarsely from the bed sheets, followed by a pause amid the ruffling of kicking away blankets and covers as Sarah welcomes her lover’s words, then retreating back to her irritation, “I can’t stand this fucking heat,” she whispers in a frustrated, gravelly register.
She is never content on little sleep, nor welcoming of the blistering temperature the Israeli sun imposes during the early hours of daylight. It is almost too common, especially during the summer of which it almost is.
Aron retreats to the warmth of her skin, kissing her forehead with eyes closed, almost suggesting but intentionally comforting. Her grateful moan is enough to speak her change of attitude, and she smiles a half-smile, a crescent of pink reaching from the crushed waves of cotton and linen. The globes of her beautiful eyes, irises allusive to coffee, throw wide with that flirtatious tinsel all too common in women of her Sephardic origins.
He fixes the collar of his shirt she wears—one of three olive dress uniforms issued to form his 35th Brigade wardrobe—as the two silently compromise their gaze for the sake of day. Aron stares silently as he rises from their bed. A perfect struggle, a perfect human being, a perfect purpose, rises on all fours in his unwieldily green tunic she so fondly dons.
His worries speak, but his courage refrains.
_ _ _