I can’t stop thinking about him, lying in his bed all these years: Ariel Sharon. They say his condition is deteriorating. I can’t concentrate on my job writing at Kars for Kids, where they do nice things for children. All I can think of is Sharon and what he would say, if only he could speak just once more.
In two days it will be 8 years since the stroke. Eight years of contemplating the one great mistake of my life, of hearing the unbearable results of my great experiment.
Yet bear it I must.
They think I am a vegetable. But I hear every word. I hear the nurses tsk as yet another rocket is lobbed into Sderot—thousands of them, unstoppable—as yet another Israeli mother-to-be miscarries a child due to the stress of the constant sirens and destruction. I hear every whistle and boom.
And I am stuck in this unresponsive shell of a body. Unable to speak. Unable to beg forgiveness of those who lost their homes, all 8,600 of them. Unable to do anything about the flimsiness of the caravillas or the broken dreams.
I am frozen in time.
They say my organs are failing. I hear my family is gathered around my bed to help usher me out of this life and into the next. What do they think of me? Do they think I am a warrior or a monster?
I recall when Gilad read aloud to me from the newspaper how the two largest Gush Katif synagogues had been turned into military bases from which Hamas might fire rockets into Israel. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” I wanted to yell, but the words stayed stuck inside me, my face and body immovable, my mouth glued shut. Only a whisper of air escaped between my teeth, not enough to clean out the poison inside of me—the toxin of knowledge, the knowledge of my own deeds against my own people.
Thousands of rockets. PTSD. Anger. Directed toward me. And I can do nothing. Not a thing. I see the faces of the rocket victims and their families. They come to me. They accuse me. “J’accuse,” they say, more than 60 of them; a morbid otherworldly chorus.
The doctors discussed it during their daily rounds, I think it was back in July, how 16% of the people I expelled still don’t have jobs; how the farmers have no land. How the divorce rate of the expellees has sky-rocketed. Broken families from broken homes.
They turn me on my left side to prevent bed sores. I wanted to be on my back. I wanted them to look me straight in the face; to see me begging: “Let me come back. I will do something about this. Something good. I can fix this.”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I just needed a little bit of cover to get past the Greek island scandal. I would have fixed everything. I promise. Don’t you see? I had to help Gilad. He’s my son.
The despair is bad. But the worst part is the awareness, the constant awareness, of everything I have done. But no one knows I am in here, regretful, wanting so much to have a second chance.
And now they say that my chances are not good. Not good at all.
I don’t want to go like this, with this stain on my name, on me, on my children.
Let me wake up. Allow me to go to Bibi, to stop him from following in my footsteps. Allow me just once more, one more chance to save the day. As I did back in the day, in Sinai.
I can see Lily calling to me, and Gur, and even Margalit. They are calling to me. I want to stay just long enough to fix this, but I know it won’t be allowed. Not after all this time. Not eight years on.
My kidneys are failing. Maybe it’s a mercy. Maybe I’ve served my sentence.
But maybe not.
For the first time, I feel fear. Real fear.
I want to pray. But my lips will not move to form the words.