Here I am a few days ago in Jaffa, Tel-Aviv, outside an old mosque in the mostly Jewish area of Jaffa. The Imam gave us permission to take a photo. The doors are a work of art. What a day! My Israeli friend took me around in her little fast-paced car that can park anywhere. She hangs half her body out of the window on the driver’s side and steers her little car into the tightest space imaginable. This particular time, when I got out of the car, I checked the front and back bumpers. They were less than an inch from the other cars. We walked around the old city of Jaffa and checked out the “souk” (pronounced “shuk” and “suk”) The open air market displays feature huge baskets of overflowing fava beans, chickpeas, red apples, almonds, and the list goes on. The markets are colorful and the people friendly. All religions and cultures mix together here and I felt relaxed.
A few days later, events changed. What a shame. Can’t we just enjoy each other’s bounty?
Here is one of my recent stories.
Comments are always welcome.
Faithless in Jerusalem
A creative non-fiction flash story
In the distance, the shimmering cathedral spires of Jerusalem reach for the sky while bones under my feet sink into the mud of ancient graves. Long before tractors and trucks, grenades and missiles, a church once graced this Jerusalem cliff embracing a view to greening valleys of red poppies and yellow narcissus blooms.
In this graveyard lies the last cornerstone of a great church, the sign says.
I note the steep dirt path winding towards the boulder and imagine thousands of weary feet shaping the trail over centuries, souls seeking salvation, their lips kissing a sacred stone.
A monk dressed in a capuchin robe approaches and says “good morning,” runs the tips of four long, pale fingers along the stone’s smoothness, as if touching a lover. He kneels against its hardness, spreads his arms around the surface and rests his head on its breast. I glance up to the hills and whisper a prayer for the courage to voice my words. “I read that the church authority decided this stone was not a holy object,” I say.
The monk lifts his eyes towards me and frowns, his lined face crinkling like crushed paper. “They wish to deter the masses of tourists from the sanctuary. Do you think they’d have buried so many people here if this were only a rock?” He strokes the side of the boulder. “Would so many tourists visit a meaningless stone?”
I ask permission to take a photo of the hallowed slab with its brown-robed lover slumped against its largeness. The monk nods and lies prone over his beloved, stretching his body between her jagged peaks, smiling, a silver tooth gleaming in sunlight. I take the photo, seeking to capture that moment of faith, before the rock becomes just a rock again.