Israel's 72 Independence Day
Congratulations to the State of Israel.
I set the alarm clock early in the morning (relatively) to watch the festive airshow pared over Ichilov Hospital skies, which you can see from my balcony. Unfortunately, I did not wake up. A month of secure lock-down brought me back to my natural sleep cycle, what can you do, nature also has its whims, and our family has several members who will gladly wake up late, if only possible, without much remorse. When I was a little girl, my twin sister and I would wake up late and run to our parents' bed; we knew that a big fat man was waiting for us, who will play with us for a long time until late morning. He would make us laugh, expose our soft little belly and kiss it with no sense of time nor urgency; this was a privileged gentleman in his late forties living in a Mediterranean country, where time run at a particular slow rhythm and clocks ticked at their own pace. After playing, he strolled, while whistling, to shave. The shaving also took its own pace, my sister and I loved to sit on the toilet lid and watch the work. There were fragrant bottles that, once squeezed, sprinkled Independence Day Foam with a pleasant, creamy mint scent. Dad would place the foam gently on his handsome face, taking care not to surpass the limits of his fancy mustache, a symbol of Mediterranean-Middle Eastern virility. At times, he used to hum a song during the process and, now and then, looked at his little girls and winked, his waist wrapped in a random towel, as the shaving ceremony took place after the shower.
Meanwhile, our mother used to make "sweet bread" in the kitchen, slices of bread dipped in a fried egg, topped with cinnamon powder. Their home was their fortress: our fortress. My parents lived their own lives in a foreign country, away from family and social constraints; the house was, by all means, a fortress, and a paradise for us as well. There was an urban apartment where we lived during school days and a spacious summer home on the Mediterranean shores.
Today, several decades later, I have been asked how come the lock-down is not as burdensome to me. After analyzing my conduct during the past 1.5 months, I think I know the answer: my twin sister and I grew up in a sort of parallel universe. Our family was always across the sea - two older siblings and a Bulgarian clan of eight brothers and sisters to which my father belonged, a tribe that my father "put on hold" after his courageous actions for the sake of the State of Israel, in Africa and other countries. Dad wanted to rest and to fulfill a dream, which he certainly achieved for himself and his little girls through a parallel world.
The Corona days have brought me back to that pleasant childhood. I got up today with peace in my heart; I went out to our balcony where a proud Israeli flag was raised, knowing that soon we will all be back glancing at the clock; yet, I do not complain, and feel even thankful for a time spent with my beloved husband, our two teenager boys, and a spoiled little dog.
Happy Independence Day, Israel!