I didn’t have a chance to tell you about the woman on the plane.
She had a scarf around her head, glossy blue.
A pendant in Arabic around her neck. That was in gold.
I called my kids to say I loved them — half in Hebrew half in English like we mermaids do.
“Sweetheart, Metuka sheli,” I said to my daughter. “My darling, chamud sheli,” I said to my son. “I miss you already my babies, see you in a few days, mama loves you.”
I noticed the woman looking at me while I spoke, her lips pursed, but her eyes smiling.
“Are you Israeli?” she asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“I thought so. I’m from South Lebanon. I was a child during the war with Israel. So I’ve heard Hebrew before, and I recognize it.”
Her voice was dark like tinted glass and she let that sentence hang in the air, and I thought about how she must know Hebrew, from soldiers shouting through megaphones, from news clips and broadcasts, and from her own nightmares as a child.
“I see,” I said.
And then she smiled and her face softened.
“But this was the first time I heard Hebrew through a mother’s words in a mother’s voice,” she said. “So thank you.”
We smiled at each other, as the plane took off into a clear blue sky.