Rivka. 25 years old. She married three weeks ago tonight.

Every year I walk up a small hill near my uncle’s apartment in Jerusalem. On that hill is a tree growing along the edge of the sidewalk, and at the foot of that tree is a pile of broken glass; glass from a shattered windshield. For some reason I always notice this glass, and I notice that every year there are fewer and fewer remaining shards, but for years now, shards remain. Sharp, jagged, individually unique, glistening shards. Shards that once collectively held on to each other so tightly that they formed one smooth, transparent sheet.

Why are there still shards after all of these years? Why has the rain not washed them away down the hill? Why has nobody swept them up? Why do I always notice them, even when they are forgotten to me every other day of the year?

Today I again walked past that tree, but this year the shards were few. I was not thinking of them at all as I ascended the hill, but almost instinctively I glanced at my feet as I passed, and there they were. Those that remain are still sharp, still jagged, still unique, still glistening.

I arrived in Israel at 4:00 pm yesterday and reached my uncle’s apartment by 5:30 pm. At 6:30 pm his phone rang. I listen. Something is wrong. Very very wrong. I wait, and then the news. My cousin’s wife has a sister. She was in a terrible traffic accident. She did not make it.

Rivka. 25 years old. She married three weeks ago.

Rivka. 25 years old. She married three weeks ago.

Rivka. 25 years old. She married three weeks ago.

By 9:00 pm I’m in a taxi to the funeral home. It’s called for 10:00 pm. The custom in Jerusalem is to bury the dead as soon as possible. The same day if possible.

I stand in the cold, unable to enter the building. There are so many people and I stand, in the bone-chilling winter Jerusalem air, 20 people deep from the entrance, listening to the eulogies projected through a miserable PA system, battling to understand with my imperfect Hebrew, against the background city noises, the wind, the sobbing on the street and the wailing from inside.

She emerges, carried by eight men. Maybe it was six. Caskets are not used in Israel. Just sheets. It’s jarring and raw. She is wrapped in white – again.

Will there still be shards next year? Will the rain have washed them away down the hill? Will they be swept up? Will I notice them even if I’ve forgotten them every other day of the year?

Will they still be sharp, still jagged, still unique, still glistening?

Rivka. 25 years old. She married three weeks ago, tonight.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: