This is not the "positive space" (the important material for the story to be shared), but in order to find that positive space, I need to carve out the "negative space." So here is the negative space, the stories which are non-stories; side notes which I'm chiseling through, to help guide me toward the important substance that will be eventually worth sharing:
She takes off, and me after her, following in the footsteps of her long dress and her unscreened livelihood, into the forest. We climb through tree paths with our feet clenching soggy earth, the smell of autumn surrounding us. The trees are so tall that when you look up it looks as if their tips are embracing each other. We tiptoe around the trees and make long whooshy "wow" sounds, like lovers of mother nature, and then we sit on a log, facing where the sun sometimes shines through. A man walks by and roars a mischief in our direction, and as he walks off the leaves tremble and shake off the vibrations of his voice until they calm back into silence. The leaves trickle through the air as they soar down slowly and daintily from the trees onto the ground. Sometimes you can't tell if it's the leaves pattering, or if forest elves are conversing. Who knows, really, what lives in there, inside these mossy dense forests!
On our way back from the forest a young man passed us by. "Good day, sir!" she said toward him. "Good day, ladies!" he replied. When we passed him I said to her, "don't you just want to hug people like that, and say - thank you so much for being nice!"?
We flip through files; old papers full of meaning and people who have died. The ideas in them are rich like soil that has simmered for decades. Her house is full of enchanted stories. Her carpets are mossy, and her old cat meows. She is a 1960's hippie fairy living in a little apartment in 2017. She laughs with a sigh, she smiles and she aches. She is an artist, a thinker, a sentimentalist. Ah, sentimentalists... Their piles and piles and papers and colors do not seem odd to me. I want to embrace them just as much as they do, perhaps. I want their stories to come alive and give meaning to mine. I never know how to thank them enough for just being who they are.
When I take a walk with Nemo we walk through a path at the end of our block, and the damp leaves and trees of fall are wondrous. My heart rejoices and takes deep breaths that are not dependent on anything, and are not followed or pre-iterated by anything.
But I do often wonder - when will I stop telling myself who I am, what I love, and that I am breathing a breath so fine... and will breath like a wolf, without knowing who I am, and maybe figuring it out anew from every breath onward... And not knowing that I love the forest when I go into it, and not knowing in advance (on every level of cognition) that I will or should be wowed by it... Not telling myself to shut my eyes and smell so that the camera external to me will catch me in that kind of Hollywood loveliness. Not telling myself anything, but just purely feeling and being, like an infant, if the forest can cradle me without me writing these odd words on a World Wide Web later on in the passage of time through the cracks of those age-old tree trunks and through my incorrigible bodily self...
But still, it was a breath so fine... of those maples turning yellow...
"Can you tell us a story?"
"I can't tell stories."
But let me try to write some, and we'll see how I do.
Like the time I returned to my Jerusalem first-floor apartment in October 2014 with Nemo on the far end of the leash and my bleeding hand on the other, with a cut too deep for me to look at clearly without fainting. I gently took off Nemo's leash, I lay on the couch in the sunlit room across the long back window-doors. I called the person still married to me whose voice was still the proteins of my consciousness, who would be home to help only in a few hours, told him I'd call S, the person not married to me, who was working nearby and with a looser schedule, and I called S, who soon came over to this home of mine, hugged me at the door, and helped me bandage my hand. He was my new love which I was easily morphing into after the long-processed termination of the love with the man still living with me. This love would last a while, would consist of lovely things like sharing precious time in a small and very clean hotel-like one-room apartment with large windows through which we watched rain and snow, sharing that space with many dogs, with meals of pasta-and-mushroom-cream-sauce, oatmeal with soy milk, and salads cut in the plastic salad-cutting machine, a life of AR protests and activism together, coming over by bus to his place after art school or walking over with Nemo the 25-minute walk from our place to his, snuggling and drinking hot chocolate. I would later sadly break his heart over the telephone one night, leaving him probably wondering why he didn't end it earlier and why he kept believing I'd be content. That night I'd take myself and my beloved Nemo, get on a bus to Be'er Sheva and land in a dear friend's house to cry all night long and sleep in her bed.
(Or two months earlier, when I went out to a corner cafe on our street in Jerusalem with my husband, and I ordered a vegan sandwich and he ordered some other sandwich, and we started a conversation with the barman because my husband said "he looks cute, maybe you'll be able to go out with him," and the barman asked where we live, and we said "well we live here now, but we're moving in a few weeks... Each to our own parents... We're getting divorced." We smiled. He exclaimed, "well I've never seen a divorcing couple going out and having fun like this!")
Or the time in the winter, at the turn of 2008 and 2009, I was out on a 5-day desert Survival Week with a group of 28 other young people ("mechina"), where we trudged up mountains and down slopes, and had no cell phones until we finished, at which point I saw missing calls from Gilad's mother and a voice message from her which I didn't listen to, because (my heart started racing) - maybe it's to inform me that Gilad was killed in the army, or that something else horrible happened, so instead called Gilad himself, who finally answered and gravely replied that he'll tell me about it later when he sees me, and this was all on a Friday afternoon, when I was about to go back home to my parent's house for Shabbat, and there were only a few hours left before Shabbat, but I hurried home, took the world's fastest shower, brushed through some of the hair dropping out after a week of being in a ponytail out there, which continued falling out hours later, too, pulled on some clothes and drove as fast as I could to his house 45 kilometers away, just to make it there at sunset. I was with his warmness, I was at home with him, we were safe now, whatever it was that happened. Gilad told me he was miserable, he had become so desperate in the army that he ran away... He walked out of the base, down to the highway and hitch hiked to his counselor's house, where he slept that night.
There is no physical pain in my life, in any of my decisions, or in any of my future endeavors. But I often suffer from the notion of how things are or how things will be. I suffer for things that aren't, for things that won't, for things unknown. I suffer and yet my body is content and free. How can one understand this paradox and free oneself from suffering, truly? And how come it is so hard to understand what it is the heart wants, and if the heart needs to be replaced or rather readjusted. Because readjusting can happen, if only we were not too afraid we would miss our misgivings. We can decide to be happy - but how scary and treacherous it is to leave behind our long-loved and deeply-deciphered friends called agony and regret.
Sadness and agony are so much more concrete than happiness. They have so many more reasons and explanations, while happiness is so swift, so abstract, like a cloud which holds no real content but whose presence you are glad to be granted for however long it will stay.
The being has not landed inside itself again. At some point in time it shattered into an echo of itself, and especially flying over the Atlantic to a new land has left the mind scurrying behind, pleading to be placed back into itself, to overlap the experience.
"You can't buy groceries with the ideas in your head," Tal mentioned when we had this really deep and long conversation going from hanging on a tightrope to leaping into the water. I was sitting on a step, he was standing, we spoke for a while and got deep into the truth of our beings. Truth: I live in my ideas. I am full of inspiration, imagination and thoughts that are always colliding, coinciding, subsiding and gliding in colorful streams and spurts.
I hate not having any money. I'd like to buy chocolate, organic oats in bulk, strawberries, and presents for all the people I love.
I also hate not having enough diligence to finish all the great things I've started over the past 27 years: stories, songs, artwork, ideas, sentences.
What I love most, though, are these things:
Our little home
These things give me immeasurable pleasure and contentment, and I am very grateful to be free of physical pain and suffering...
מוֹדָה אֲנִי לְפָנֶֽיכם, מֶֽלֶךְ חַי ושכינה קַיימת, שֶׁהֶֽחֱזַֽרְתם בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה.