Numbers – Day 2

2 Elul 5774
By Martin Nakell

– Horrible.

– Yes. Horrible. ok. Maybe. But the Israeli’s killed five Palestinians.

– Killed five Palestinians looking for their own Israeli kidnapped kids!

– So? Still – 5 to 3. That’s fair? Bartender. Please. Another of the same.

I walked home the same streets I’d walked a hundred times. I saw the same things I’d seen a hundred times. I felt the same air I’d felt a hundred times. And what’s a hundred? Nothing. How many kids are a hundred kids? How many Palestinians were a hundred Palestinians? What are numbers? What is one? One Israeli one Palestinian? One divided by one. One scotch on the rocks. Three beers for him. Two people talking in a bar. One God. One history. A hundred thousand wars. Now there will be one war that will be like a hundred thousand wars at once. At once. Another number. All of history happens at once. Time is an invention only of a limited consciousness locked into a linear chamber of vision. How many steps now to my place? How many years have I lived there? How many times has my mother asked me – told me – at least put a mezuzah on the door. How many friends have I had to dinner there? How many books have I read there? How many is the three Israeli kids? Is it – are they – a hundred thousand? At least. How many times have I heard in my head Golda Meir’s “I will never forgive the Palestinians for making us kill their children”? How many times will I hear it in the next five minutes? How many wars has the United States of America fought? One? One continuous war? How many times have I said to someone – family friend or lover – I love you? How many words have I written in my lifetime? One? One hundred thousand? A hundred thousand and one? How many times have Mustafa and I argued? How many times have Mustafa and I agreed? How many suns in our universe? One? How many lives do I get to live out? One? Two? A hundred thousand? A hundred thousand and one? How many times in my life will I ever again be immune to sorrow for the deaths of 5 Palestinians because of the rage that overwhelms sorrow the rage for those 3 kids they could’ve been me. They could’ve been my grandfather when he was a kid in Israel so long ago now in the limited chamber of this one human’s linear consciousness. How many times will I see that guy in the bar again who – just like so many hundreds of thousands of guys – men and women – who always are Israel this and Israel that couldn’t he just for once for one once oh sorry so sorry for Israel’s loss for the violence against them instead of for a hundred thousand times oh but the Israeli’s killed 5 Palestinians. And I’m home. How many times have I ever come home? Only once? Odysseus and I both at the same non-linear time just once a forever once and not to be too sentimental but those 3 Israeli teenagers will never come home again. That’s it. I’m home. It’s 1:15 a.m. For the only one and only time in history.

4 Responses to Numbers – Day 2

  1. rosalee lubell August 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Wow! Excellent read. The hair on my arms is standing on end.

  2. Jill Weinthal August 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Thank you Martin, it’s one writing I will remember!

  3. Lisa Ackerman August 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Wonderful. Just…wonderful.

  4. Michele Shugarman August 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Thank you Martin. Excellent! So discussion worthy.