Speaking of Rocks

You’re sitting at home, staring out the window. You’ve been sitting for awhile now, on the red rocking chair you always used to put your son to sleep in. It creaks a bit now, as you rock. But it’s providing comfort with a memory, making you feel less old somehow, even though your son’s getting well on in his schooling. He’d be out of the house in a year or so, and starting out on his own, becoming the man you always hoped he would be.

You sigh, reminiscing, but then your phone rings. Your son tells you he’ll be home in about an hour; that he and his classmates had decided to stick around a bit later at school, but to please save him some dinner.

That’s alright, you consent. You trust his little sixteen-year-old self half-heartedly. He is safe, you deem, because he’d be traveling in threes. But he’s still sixteen, so your heart’s still a bit jumpy at the thought of him traveling past a certain hour.

You just never want to assume the worst, so you consent. It’s time to let go.

And when your boy’s a bit later than he had told you, you think of all the punishments you might have to inflict, just so that he understands that he’s still sixteen and that because he still lives under your roof, he lives under your rules.

But then the hour grows later. And you know your son pushes buttons, but he’s never pushed them this far. You call the other parents. They haven’t heard from the boys either. So your husband suggests to report this to the police, as a precaution.

And you do so, a little nervous, but hopeful just the same. He’s just a silly kid. No bad could come to him.

And the other parents agree with you, because their boys are silly too. Young and silly.

And then a day passes. And then a week. And then two. You’re still in that rocking chair, staring out the window, the creak being the only escape from your thoughts. The boys will come home. They must.

Creak, creak.

“No one would steal my boy away from me,” you constantly say. “My boy.”

Creak, creak.

But the boys don’t come home. You stay with the other mothers, trying to make sense of it all. You call on the nations to stand up and help. To make noise. Sure, your people are making noise. But it needs to be louder, to drown out your thoughts. It needs to be louder to drown out the thoughts of others. Of others saying that your son deserves any outcome of this.

Because how could any sixteen-year-old boy deserve any outcome when he’s the victim?

Since when did it become okay to blame the victim?

You continue to rock. There are articles. The media is getting involved. They compared your son to that of his assumed kidnapper. Saying that the boys, they are the same. They are young and silly, caught in a mess much larger than themselves.

Creak, creak.

There are others calling for peace. Calling for your country’s government to take unilateral measures to make peace with the government of your kidnapper’s. To not acknowledge that there is terror involved. Rather, to just negotiate with the terrorists.

Creak, creak.

But your boy has still not come home. His bed is still empty, although his room still has the faint scent of teenage boy. The dinner plate you made for him, too, is half-spoiled, but still in the fridge. And you keep thinking.

You know it’s against every bone of your body to negotiate with terrorists. It’s also against every bone in your body to blame the victim.

Yet, others keep blaming the hitchhiker. Keep blaming the parents and the culture. Keep blaming the region.

There is never a blame on the kidnapper.

You continue to rock.

Today, you were told your boy is never coming home.

And, still there is still no blame on the kidnapper.

You won’t ever rock again.


In memory of Eyal, Gilad & Naftali, HYD and please God give strength to their families.

About the Author
Melanie Goldberg is a current student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She also serves as the research assistant for Versa: The Israeli Supreme Court English Language Repository, and founded a chapter of The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights on her campus. Most recently, she was one of the recipients of The Jewish Week's "36 under 36" award.
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