Eli Friedland Jankelowitz
Learning and growing; aiming for peace and kindness.

War Diary of a Nation – Week 8

They don’t make it easy to forget. I don’t say this with malice. We must remember. But the storefronts are shiny and inviting and the traffic and aromas make it all seem so far away.

And yet, as I stare at the bouncy dress in the shop window and think of all the lovely places it could take me, you stare back at me. A life-size teddy bear with an eye patch and gunshot wounds. Perched on benches all over the city. People watching. Being watched. You send a shiver down my spine as I’m reminded of the truth. A truth I find myself avoiding far too often. 

My mind goes gentle on me, as though it knows that I cannot bear this harsh reality. Entire cities holed up in buildings far from the land they love. Empty seats in a lecture hall that you will never fill again. A blank photo frame that your mother bought – A4. She had wanted to frame your diploma. 

When I saw your face among the fallen, it didn’t register. I did not have the privilege of knowing you. But my friend did. And now, you are forever etched on my heart. A friend of a friend. A friend. 

The most innocent. A gaping hole left in their midst. And the silence is deafening. The UNimaginable atrocities left UNcondemned. UNmentioned. And I remember a little moment of life I witnessed the other day. Of humanity. A dad and his daughter in a parking lot outside her school. He braids her hair and pats down the wisps.

They are a microcosm of this people. Of the love. Of the care. Of the humanity. Of small acts of kindness and compassion. But so many of these beautiful moments have ceased to exist. That’s what happens when the action loses its performer. So I wonder to myself, who will braid her hair? Or hug her goodbye as she begins her day.

They sound small and insignificant. These actions. Yet we are formed by a million tiny moments. And oh what a difference a hug can make as you start your morning. An I love you. That feeling. The knowledge that you are important. That your life matters to someone. To so many.

It was during the few days of calm that I allowed myself, but for a moment, to remember what peace felt like. Silent skies. The sun warm on my back. Serenity. No need to watch my back. A blip in time really. And then they came running. Down Dizengoff. The bass hid the siren and with no context, I thought, but for a moment, that maybe they were coming for me. But then I saw the fear in their eyes. The siren sounded louder.

It was just a rocket. Just. Grateful, we found shelter. 

About the Author
Eli made Aliyah from Vancouver, Canada six years ago. During her military service, she served as a letter writer in the IAF's foreign affairs department. She currently studies law and works as an English language editor.
Related Topics
Related Posts