This morning I felt so alone as a solitary immigrant I had to find someone to talk to. I went to the park near my building but all I found there were two people seated on a bench, a woman with long brown hair and a man with a gray beard and a bitter face. I said, “Good morning” in Hebrew. The woman said nothing and the man shrugged his shoulders. “I offered you a good morning,” I said. “What do you offer me?”
They got up and left. I was shocked. I thought to myself, I have work to do here. I am needed. I did miracles as a therapist in America. Why can’t I do the same in Israel? There are so many depressed people here! But before I could help anyone else I first had to help myself. So I went to the mall on Ibn Gabirol Street to buy some fresh salmon flown in from Norway.
At the entrance to the mall, a lady with a face smothered in all sorts of medications was busy feeding hunks of bread to a gaggle of pigeons. “That is so kind of you,” I said. She inched her face closer to mine and said, “Whoever doesn’t do it isn’t worth anything! Buy a banana from me!” She pointed to an impromptu food stand of bananas and strawberries lying at her feet.
“Sorry, I don’t carry money,” I said. “I only have a credit card.”
“You’re a good man,” she said. “You’ll make money someday.”
What a lovely woman! There was hope for us all! I felt better already.
I stepped inside the mall and bumped into a short man standing still as if in a trance. I asked him what was wrong. He showed me. He stretched his arms out and tried to clench his fists but failed. “Nobody knows what I am suffering from,” he said. “They can’t help me!”
Suddenly I felt sick again. I couldn’t buy fresh fish now. I left the mall and headed back to my apartment. Outside my building a boy was trying to do a skateboard trick. He jumped up onto a low wall along the sidewalk but he couldn’t keep his feet stuck to the skateboard so it flew off into the road.
“Can I offer you some advice?” I said.
“Sure,” he said.
“Try it without the skateboard.”
“Thanks, I’ll remember that,” he said and laughed.
So I was still useful at my age.