I said that I would write or bring a story to words every day for July. As the politics swirl, and tropes abound, the world continues. So the Leftern Wall July Story Journal tale of the day is this:
I am walking from a cafe to meet with a friend to translate a document about Jerusalem from Arabic to English together. I realize that I am hungry, and remember that I have a Clif bar nestled away in my new, ultrahip backpack that my partner and I ordered online from an ultrahip website (before I ultrahipply decided to become unemployed, but that is a different story entirely). I think about eating my Clif bar, but decide against it: I didn’t buy that many when I was stateside, I should just get a falafel.
I walk into a falafel store, and the man behind the counter says:
I ask him, in Hebrew, “What is about my appearance that indicated to you that I am an English speaker?”
“My mistake,” he replies in Hebrew. “What do you want?”
“No, it’s Ok,” I say, “I’m just curious.”
“It just came out. Falafel?” He has thin, gray hair, brushed back in streaks, and dark, heavy eyelids.
“Uh, falafel, yeah.”
I watch him as he scoops the little balls out of their oily birthplace and into their brand new bready vehicle. He looks glum. I think about the boys who were killed, and wonder if he is thinking about them. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he’s just glum. Did I make him glum?
“Listen,” I say, “I wasn’t upset earlier- I was just curious. I mean, you were right! I am a native English-speaker. But how did you know without talking to me?”
“I just guessed,” he says.
I take my falafel, and he gives me a little plastic bowl of french fries.
“No, that’s alright,” I say.
“On the house,” he says.
“Oh, thanks!” I say, maybe a bit too loudly.
He smiles. “Enjoy, dear.” (The Hebrew word for “dear,” מותק, sounded less weird than it looks on this page).
It was a good falafel. C’est tout.