Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Another day in Israel

The alarm went off at six-fifty, but I gave myself another ten minutes. And another ten. When I realized the time, I didn’t shower; I rushed out of the apartment, chewing on a stale and rubbery piece of pita.

I hurried down the stairs of the building in Tel Aviv, where elevators are rare and slow. A neighbor waved at me in the parking lot, and I assumed my wave back through the dark car window was noticed. At the office, I went straight to my desk, trying to make up for a delay that, in my haste, hadn’t even happened. After checking and responding to 96 emails and deleting thousands more, I finally got up from my chair to get a coffee. My colleague Abigail passed by in the hallway with a smile that faded as our eyes met. Her “Boker Tov, Yitzhak” was cut short, and her lips moved soundlessly. Her facial muscles tightened in a slight shock while her eyebrows arched away from her eyes.

I went with three colleagues to a restaurant near the office for lunch. After sitting down with my plate of shawarma, I noticed fixed stares. Everyone, without stopping their conversations, cast glances in my direction. We talked about work and the war in Gaza. And the stares continued. I couldn’t resist and asked, laughing, if they wanted something from my plate, which seemed to embarrass everyone.

Back at the office, my boss called me into his office.

— Yitzhak, are you feeling okay? — he asked.

— I’m great — I replied, already intrigued.

— Are you sure?

— What’s wrong, David?

— Look, maybe you should take the afternoon off. Go home and rest.

— But I’m fine!

He looked at me seriously, got out of his chair, put a hand on my shoulder, and said:

— I don’t think so.

To prove it, I stayed another hour at the office after the end of the workday. Exhausted, I went straight home and skipped meeting the guys for Friday’s happy hour. I walked along the Tel Aviv promenade by the beach on Saturday morning. The sun was shining, and the crowd was good for that hour. As I passed by people, I noticed the same look from Abigail, but it was even more intense. Women covered their mouths in a silent scream; men shook their heads, and mothers shielded their children’s eyes. Something was wrong with the world, and those stares made me uncomfortable. Six minutes into my walk, I lost the will to keep going. I stopped at a kiosk to buy water, and the four or five people there immediately made way for me. There was something wrong with those people.

I went back home, took off my slightly sweaty clothes, and got into the shower. I finally saw what people were staring at in the bathroom mirror. On my chest, to the left of my sternum, there was a hole. The hole didn’t go through to my back but was at least ten or twelve centimeters deep. It was clear that my heart was no longer there.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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