It was a Saturday and nothing moved in the still heat of the Tel Aviv morning. The eerily deserted street swam before my eyes. I blinked. Was this real?
Last night, I had tasted the metallic taste of death in my dry mouth, had felt its grip around my aching neck and had squirmed like a rat in a trap, muscles tensing and relaxing involuntarily with the poison they had given me, the breaths hurting my chest as I snatched them from
Where did that come from? I looked around the street, but it was as deserted as before. It must be an hallucination, a ghost seeking me from last night
‘Pssssssst. Over here. The Shanbo sent you?’
An Israeli man, balding, stern-looking, stood in a darkened doorway.
‘Yes, yes, it’s me.’
‘This way,’ he whispered ‘quietly. You know we are not supposed to work on a Saturday.’
He beckoned me into a kitchen, a place of stone and cement that the sun never reached, just like
‘Here. Can you separate these eggs? I need you to separate the yolk from the whites. Into this bowl. Here, I’ll show you.’
I tipped the egg from one jagged eggshell to another, letting the white slide glutinously over the side, trying not to puncture the yellow sac. Although the sun did not reach this place the heat did, and I was sweating.
He placed a fan on the desk, positioning it to blow into my face. No words were exchanged. I didn’t expect it to be so quiet. Expected a busy kitchen, not me and a lone male.
‘It’s not safe to travel alone,’ whispered some voice from my past.
‘I’ll be fine,’ I had said ‘I always am,’ but neither past nor future existed for me now; my mind was a desert with the wind sweeping right through.
I punctured one of the yolks. He brought me another bowl, to try again. His face loomed closer and then went away. Last night a set of eyes had flickered over me. They were flecked with green and gold and they crinkled as their owner smiled a crocodile smile and said
‘One more. I think it will be enough’
My hands shook. I broke another egg and the bald-headed man brought me another bowl.
‘Take it slowly,’ he said.
I had scrabbled and run in the darkness, made my voice work and my eyes work and my lungs work. Just for a little longer until
The third set of yolks splintered and bled into the bowl. The bald man took the bowls away, and began to heat some butter in a pan.
‘What should I do now?’ I asked, and he shook his head and put a finger to his lips. My heart burned up my throat.
I was alive, but I felt death stalking me still, waiting
I moved to the adjacent room, a lighter room with windows and four tables, each surrounded by six chairs, topped with plastic cloths. And the door. The door.
The man came through with a set of cutlery, then two plates, put them on the table
‘Sit down,’ he said ‘Eat. You look hungry.’
He had made two plates of scrambled egg. He sat and shook salt onto his plate.
‘Come, eat,’ he said. I sat down. He passed the salt. It was my first meal in two days.
‘Go home now,’ he said, and he held the door open for me as I left.