It’s like we are all a little stunned, little fish electrocuted in a whirlpool – blunt force trauma to the heart and half-swimming through thick waves, and half waiting for a grownup to show up and show us where to go.
It doesn’t matter that the sky is blue and leaves are turning and there’s a cinnamon breeze blowing from the bakery down Agrippas.
The the old guys aren’t laughing or shouting by the taxi stands, and everyone’s shuffling and looking down at their hands.
“My condolences,” a Palestinian friend texts me.
And on the radio they’re playing all these songs from a different time – when Tel Aviv was still half-built and shining like white sand, when Jerusalem, City of Peace wasn’t said with irony and a brittle laugh – when there were more sages than scorpions in our holy places, when we still had dirt underneath our fingers from building things.
And it isn’t just the old guys feeling it – the young moms with their babies by the shuk are hollow-eyed.
The young guy in the Barca shirt isn’t swiping right.
Maybe they stayed up all night holding vigil and listening to the news, too.
The loudest sound in Jerusalem is the sigh of the bus as it pulls over, or the scrape of a piece of paper against the sidewalk.
The song on the radio fades.
“Tagid li eich laatsor et hadma’ot
Tagid li eifo yesh olam acher lichyot
“It’s like my Grampa died,” a girl says to her friend.
Her friend nods.
Because exactly that.