Yaara Wertheim

Swarms of Thoughts

My head is swarming like a bee hive. There is a bee for each kid, their well being. One for every bit of dessert and screen time they had today. All the attention they literally ask for, that I couldn’t provide. My guilt. I’m doing a decent job. I can do better. 

There is a bee for every picture I saw of the massacre. There is one for every story I read, and every image of the lost loved ones. Their gaping hole of loss. Their fear and unsettlement of not knowing. 

I have to fight a tic to check for more news. Did the numbers go up? Were some people found? Are there more stories to read? Should I read them? I feel obliged. They’re my people and have suffered a terrible loss and extreme trauma. It could have just as easily been me, my family or a good friend. But for my own swarming mind, maybe I shouldn’t. 

I’m technically working. There’s a bee for every task. Every meeting I canceled at the last moment. Every person I spoke to. The almost rhetorical question of how are you doing. No one really needs to answer. None of us are ok. Hearing others’ pain makes it worse. 

I hear the extra loud rumbling of an airplane. That one flew really low. I wonder if we killed more of them. I have a brand new feeling. Growing up abroad I always looked at the situation from both sides. Some people think there is a solution. These people live far away. I know it’s complicated. But there is a difference between knowing there is complexity and being in it. I know there are innocent people in Gaza who are dying, but I want revenge anyhow. I’ve never felt that before.

I don’t feel safe. I feel betrayed by my country. Where is the strong army that protects us no matter what? My people are dying. There are murders on the loose 50 miles away. Over a thousand of us have been killed. How many terrorists are hiding out? Who will they kill next? How can I possibly protect my family? Am I far enough away that they’ll most likely go somewhere else first? Those poor people who have yet to be killed. This is far from over. Poor hostages. Are they still alive? They’re worth more alive, so I hope they’re alive. How will we get them out? What will it cost us? How many more lives to save those lives? Why do we have to go in on foot? Why can’t we just bomb the terrorists and save our soldiers? I saw a picture of multiple buildings demolished. How many innocent Palestinians died there? How many innocent die for every terrorist? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, so the whole haystack is often destroyed. I know it’s sad, but that bee floats away. The fear, the shock and disgust brings a swarm of other bees in its place. 

My kid is yelling. Something didn’t go his way. Can I help him? I can’t focus. Another boom. My mind is swarming a bit faster now. The pictures – some I saw, some I imagine. There are stories of incredible heroes and poor victims and many whose stories are lost. Whole families died. Each story is hard to bear. Each loss is hard to bear. Over 1200 deaths and 130 hostages. With numbers like these, I can’t possibly take in every story. There is a huge gaping hole in each person who is mourning a loved one. It includes memories and dreams, and existential questions. Multiply that by 1200, or more. The Israeli kid being pushed around by Palestinian kids. That feels metaphorical. Where are the terrorists we haven’t found yet? What about the north? Will it start there? Will my brother be ok? He’s in reserves stationed there now. 

The kids are yelling for sweets. I can’t deal with this. I can’t focus my mind on my kids right now. They’re acting so shitty. Sweets are a reward. I can’t give in. But I can’t do this. I gave them sweets. It’s crazy how they don’t know much. They know of sirens and missiles. They think all the booms and rumbling is thunder. A storm is brewing. They don’t need to know. They will learn about this in history class and come ask questions. I turn a show on for them. Ahh… quiet. Guilt. Quiet. 

More booms. More airplanes. I’m in the middle of a war zone. It’s a bit surreal. Like all the stories you hear of terrible far away wars. I hear and feel rumbling. There are missiles that either land in the vicinity or are blown up in the sky. There is the startling boom that makes me jump every time the iron dome fires. There are planes overhead on their way to destroy our enemy. 

I should breathe. I do. I hold it in. There’s a distant siren. I release it. I wonder why my head is throbbing. Maybe I’m not drinking enough water. 

About the Author
I'm an American-Israeli mix. A Product Manager by day. Artist by night. Mom 25/7.
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