With Eyes Wide Open, This Is What I See

Into Jerusalem, and through the hills to that city in pieces, and the sky is dark and heavy overhead because, #metaphor.

The bus grinds to a halt in front of the central bus station, that mosaic of humanity dulled by travel, by fatigue, rough around the edges.

The sky opens and the rain falls.

There’s a wariness here in the central bus station after all we’re living through – such dark times.

The clouds gather overhead, and I think about the things I’ve been trained to do now that I live here:

Watch for unattended bags that might be hiding bombs, and this is what I see: There’s a pink bag over by the ATM, a pink bag with Ariel the Little Mermaid on it, a pink bag just like the one my daughter takes to first grade every day, and my breath catches, I look around for a soldier, and then as my heart skips for that second, a little girl runs over, picks up the bag, and swings it over her shoulders and scampers off.

Watch for people wearing bulky jackets that might be hiding explosives, and this  is what I see: There’s a man with a thick black coat, and then another man with a thick blue coat, and then a woman with a thick red coat, and a little girl with a puffy purple jacket,  and, and, and it’s cold out and everyone’s shivering.

Watch out, watch out, watch out because you just don’t know when someone will turn the car around and hit the gas pedal hard, or stab you in the back with a screw driver, or storm into a synagogue and open fire…

My eyes are wide open, and this is what I see:

I see a couple holding hands and kissing in the rain, their red umbrella closed and lying at their feet.

I see a child clinging to her father’s leg while he buys a sandwich wrapped in cellophane from a guy popping sunflower seeds with the shells still on.

I see a girl with too much pink lipgloss using the front-facing camera on her iPhone to apply even more.

I see an IDF soldier helping an elderly Muslim woman down from the bus, while she smiles and thanks him.

And I see a man in a kifeyeh drop a few coins in the crumpled paper cup held in the trembling hands of an old man with a kipah while he offers a prayer of thanks.

A blessing on your head.

And the rain comes down on all of us.

So, keep your eyes open, wide open. Watch out for the clouds, yes… they’re there, dark and baleful, you can’t look away. But keep looking: Look up, up, up into the sky while they roll past, because then you might see the silver lining.