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I’m in between wars right now

Nine months later, the buzz of a vacuum cleaner sends her running pell-mell to the bomb shelter

Nine months since the war last summer.

And  still, we line our shoes by the door just in case we have to run again, like we did so many nights, over earth, dry and cracked — the little one fell, the scar still there on his knee.  Look carefully, just below the thigh.

Their shoes wait: From sandals to rainboots to sneakers, now… And sandals again soon as summer rolls around. Only one size bigger because children grow.

(Each day takes us further from the last war, but closer to the next.)

And the fear is always there for me, even when I laugh with all my teeth. But I never turn the music to full volume because we can’t afford to miss the siren, and miss that chance to run.

And just last month I heard that sound of 1000 hungry flies, wings whizzing through carrion, that same exact sound from last summer, the summer of the rockets, and the midnight runs to bomb shelters… the sound of the sirens… and I ran to my kids room to pull them out of sleep and out the door and over hard earth, only to realize that the sound — that same sound that still troubles my sleep, AND my waking life too, is really only your neighbor vacuuming.

(It was almost Passover, after all.)

I drank a glass of wine.

And then another.

And the sound faded into the back of my mind right where the dust settles.

But it’s still there – It makes me sneeze.

And today, I walked by one of the many bomb shelters that dot our fields and our valleys, that fill our cities and our mountains. And behind this door — this very door — the teachers in my son’s preschool transformed this cold grey space into a classroom, with plastic cars and fuzzy bears, with books and puzzles, and a bubble machine, so that life could go on as normally as possible while the rockets fell and the sirens wailed.

They planted seeds, the children and the teachers, during that stretch of time when no one strayed far from any shelter.


It’s over now. For now.

The only sirens we hear are the ones that plague our sleep.

(Or the ones when our neighbors vacuum and our imagination’s in the mood to throw us back into the fray.)

But the shelters stand. Thank God they’re empty, but Thank God they’re there… but still…. while stone and metal stays the same, look how the flowers grow.

It’s been nine months since the war. And the babies made in bomb shelters are starting to be born.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Times of Israel's New Media editor, lives in Israel with her two kids in a village next to rolling fields. Sarah likes taking pictures, climbing roofs, and talking to strangers. She is the author of the book Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered. Sarah is a work in progress.