When she answered she sounded so sweet. Mayan had a real sweet voice – the voice of a girl who loved art but didn’t have the confidence to be an artist and was just happy enough to sit out in a field or a park and sketch what she saw. She probably had a sketchbook full of incredible landscapes and views that she would never show anyone because she was shy and I really liked that about her. It felt like she had already come out of her shell with me but in her voice, she still seemed timid, reluctant – like she still wanted to hold onto some of that adorable shyness. When she answered the phone she said “Hey Josh, how’s it going?”
And the way she said my name. “Josh.” It was a cross between her Israeli accent and her attempt at a perfect American accent. She’d never be able to say my name right – at least right to an American ear – she came here too late. But I thought it sounded nice and this was the first time we spoke over the phone so I wasn’t distracted by how pretty I thought she was – all I had was her voice and it was a perfect voice. Everything I wanted in a voice: sweet and confident, but not too confident – and Israeli. But not too Israeli.
We made small talk for a second and we talked in Hebrew. I told her about my day, my classes and I even shared a funny anecdote about a couple of my students. I asked how work was going and she said it was fine. Mayan mentioned that she had had some time during a lull in the middle of her shift to send out a few e-mails. I think that’s what she said but when we’d talk in Hebrew, she would talk so fast that I didn’t always catch everything. I caught enough though and I knew she said work was slow that day and she had a few minutes to send out e-mails. I said that sounded great and was about to get into how my evening was going but you see, Mayan had no intention of listening to how my evening was going or talking about seeing a movie on Friday or going mini-golf on Thursday because she said last Saturday, our fifth date, the next time we get together we should go mini-golfing.
Instead, she cut me off and said my name again. “Josh.” This time it didn’t sound sweet. She wasn’t an artistic girl who was afraid to be an artist with a sketch book full of the way she saw the world; she didn’t say my name with an American accent or an Israeli accent or any sort of combination because the way she said my name this time, well, when someone says your name like that you don’t care what they sound like.
“Um, Josh,” she started in Hebrew. There was guilt in her voice and a bit of sadness. And seriousness; like someone who wanted to get straight to the point – if I missed most of what she said it’s because I only can remember what was worth remembering – the words in any language that get the point across.