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What have I done

it happened
in 2016
in eilat
close to the
military checkpoint
at the entrance to the town

perhaps
barukh can’t remember exactly

it was the most heart-rending moment
of the aliyah

one day after
barukh and his family
arrived in israel

one day after
they left hungary behind

the country that
fred and L
the boys aged eleven and ten
had never left before

one day after
the family moved to a continent
they had never visited before

it happened
on the first day
of their new life

lajos
one of the four hungarian cowboys
in the arava
drove barukh’s family around
in his van

showed them
the desert
the date plantation of the kibbutz
the sea
eilat

every time
they got back in the van
after they had seen the sights
lajos reminded fred and L
to fasten their seat belts

but fred and L
did not pay much attention
to seat belts

it wasn’t them who wanted this
this whole aliyah
this whole
starting
of a new
life

fred and L
didn’t want to go anywhere
they wanted to stay with their friends
and grandparents
in hungary

there had been
so few certain things
in their lives
so little consistancy
so little predictability

they felt
that even the little
they had
was taken away from them

their parents took it away

fred and L were
angry with barukh
angry with judit
angry with the world

they were angry with lajos
eilat
the van
and the seat belt

angry with each other

barukh knew that
obviously

but
he had no idea
what immense
fear
lied
in the soul
of his sons
deep
under
the anger

he realised
this
only
then
on the first day
of their new life
in eilat

barukh so recalls
that it happened
at the entrance to the town
close to the military checkpoint

neither fred
nor L
fastened their seat belts

perhaps
one of the cars
in front of them
braked suddenly
or a soldier stepped abruptly
in front of the van
barukh doesn’t remember
the only thing
he remembers is
that lajos stepped on the brake
and they got thrown forward

barukh and judit were restrained
by the seat belts they wore
L hit the back of the driver’s seat
but fred sat in the middle
nothing was in front of him
that could have blocked his movement

as the van suddenly decelerated
fred were thrown forward
from his seat
head first
fell between the two front seats

bbbbffff

fred…

he knew exactly
that what happened
happened because
he hadn’t fastened his seat belt

so after the impact
he settled back on his seat
with swift movements
dutifully

and only then he started to cry
quietly

he cried
obediently
diffidently
ashamed

there was no anger present
any more
only terror

and then happened
the most heart-rending moment
of the aliyah
for barukh

L
who had been held back
by the driver’s seat
at the sudden deceleration
simply sat for a second unnerved
staring at his crying brother
then threw himself at him
hugged him
and pressing his head
onto his brother’s chest
burst into tears

that did it for fred too
hugged his brother back
and he also burst into tears

so they clung to each other
hugged each other hard
sobbing

frédi
frédi
repeated L
his voice breaking
as he sobbed

fred
didn’t say a word
just sobbed
and sobbed
and held onto his brother

they sobbed
with such deep pain
as those who mourn their lost lives

they clung to each other
as those who have no one else
in the entire world

they clung to each other
as those who can’t afford
to lose each other

barukh looked at judit
then at his sons

and the certainty
and resolve
and obsession
that he had felt about the aliyah
up till this point
vanished in a flash

what
have i done

he asked
himself

About the Author
a wandering aramean poet / born in hungary / living in israel / longing for a home / and peace / outside and inside // he writes about his new life / and his old one / his adhd and asd / his adonayush / and war and coexistence / in israel / in the middle east / and in the world // hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian / and in a weekly increasing number also in english // “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”) / his first book of poems / was published in budapest in 2021 / "twelve points of barukh" ("barukh tizenkét pontja") his second book was published in 2022 // he lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem / with his wife and two sons
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