Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

When reality is in overdrive

I know this bus like I know the walk from my bedroom to the kids room in the middle of the night.

I know that when I hand the driver 100 shekels, I need to turn my hand just so for the change – the crisp new 50, the worn 20, and the 5 shekel coin that winks silver.

(And still, I know I’ll always forget to take the ticket each time – and that the driver will say to me as always “Hey lady, the ticket. May you be healthy!”)

I know the people of the bus — the dozens of soldiers in olive green with their iPhones and automatic weapons,  the old Yiddishe mamme with the photos of her grandchildren who sits across the aisle,  the mothers quieting fretful babies in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and Thai, the workers, the wanderers, all of us, on this bus from Ramle to Jerusalem.

I know this bus like I know my own moods, and the rhythm of my feelings, the adrenaline with the gas pedal, the sigh of fatigue with the breaks.

So when the bus is late – and it’s NEVER late – I worry.

I don’t assume the driver stopped for a smoke off of highway 40.

I don’t assume the smattering of rain and the slick roads have slowed everything down.

No, these are tense times, these are dark times, these are times when you check the news to see if pieces of your late bus and the people in it are splayed all over the road.

Yes, my imagination is in overdrive. Because our reality is in overdrive.

(And I never imagined four men would be butchered in a synagogue.  I never imagined a baby would be flung high, high, high into the air.  I never imagined three boys would be kidnapped on their way home one summer night.)

And when the late bus finally rolls to its stop , 13 1/2 minutes late when it’s never late, I think twice before I get on.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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