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Waking Dreams

Leah Gebber

Tucked away, in the recesses of our souls, we all have dreams. Sometimes we hold them aloft and our breath catches as we watch them soar. Four accounts of dreams coming true…

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

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MOMENT OF TRUTH “I saw my wife and daughter looking on, tears in their eyes. My own emotions roiled. Grief at what had been. Joy at my daughter’s marriage. Determination to make them proud. Gratitude for my family, who had been there through the deepest darkness and pulled me through, to this moment”

A kite.

Relic of childhood, peeping out from under a carton in the basement. Grasp, pull, unfold. Blow off the dust. Bring it to the window, see the red and blue, faded now, but still cheerful.

Wait for a day of wind and sunshine, stand at the top of a hill, hold the kite aloft. A lift, a gust of wind. Launch the kite into the air and then run! Run as fast as the breeze, grip the string and watch the blue-and-red rectangle bob and climb and then fly, fly through the sky.

A dream.

Relic of carefree days, times when we felt our spirits lift and unfurl. Stored in the basement of our minds, waiting to be grasped, pulled, unfolded.

Blow off the dust. Bring it to the window, see the colors and shades, marvel at the beauty forgotten.

The dream waits. For a day of sunshine and wind, day of hope and movement. It waits to be lifted to the wind, unfurl in the breeze. It waits for the tug and pull, for the breathless sprint across spring grass.

It waits to fly through the sky.

Tucked away, in the recesses of our souls, we all have dreams. Sometimes we must search for them, sometimes they need adjustment and repair. But sometimes we hold them aloft and our breath catches as we watch them soar…

Like a Real Wedding

Name: Sara Ben Salomon

Dream: To celebrate her 40th anniversary as if it were a wedding

For all those people who say 57 is too old to be a bride, I say, pah. My shoulders are a little more bent, true, but I’m just as slim as I was when I was 17. And if my Ummi is looking down from the heavens, I say, Look! You see! Mothers don’t know everything after all.

But maybe, being in Heaven, she already knows that.

Ummi told me that if Abraham and I married, misfortune would visit us. Our crops would not grow, our chickens would not lay, and the fruit of my womb would never flourish. She was wrong.

“Let’s put it toward a vacation,” he said. We went the next week. We found a tiny wooden cabin in the countryside. It was in the middle of nowhere, and when we arrived, we had to drive half an hour just to find a store that sold some bread and milk. Late that evening, as we sat on deck chairs in the garden, I felt a sense of peace that had for so long eluded me

We’d come to the Holy Land the year before, Operation Ezra and Nehemiah brought us here. Ah, did we think we were coming to a land flowing with milk and honey. The only thing that flowed were Ummi’s tears when she saw our new home. It was made of metal. Metal pressed into lumps and bumps. We hung a curtain and made two rooms in the space.

And oh, the heat. The heat in Baghdad was strong, that unforgiving sun like a neighbor with a grudge. But in the summer months, we were cool in the thick stone walls of our home. We’d hang wet muslins at the windows. As they dried, a wetness came into the air.

But in the ma’abarot! In those huts, we felt like we were in the fires of the Next World, may they only burn our enemies. And there was nothing to do but run after the chickens and listen to the gossip. So if Abraham and I found that we could talk and talk and all of a sudden, morning had become the evening, what harm? What harm, I say?

But oh, no, Ummi would have none of it. She wanted me to marry a Persian boy. Her father was Persian, she thought all Persian boys were princes. And she didn’t want me to marry then at all, not until we were in a home of our own. Out of the transit camp.

We’d already been in the transit camp for a year, though, and we weren’t moving anywhere fast. So Abraham and I found a minyan and a rabbi. The rabbi found a tallit and a ketubah. I found a white flower growing wild at the back of our hut. And we were married, Abraham and I.

For all that Ummi shouted and predicted a terrible future, she came around. Abraham may not be Persian, but he is a prince. He told her that her bread tasted of the Next World and carried him to the times when his great-grandmother would stuff pieces of bread in his mouth as a babe. Ah, how Ummi melted when he said that.

Finally, the day came when the huts that hadn’t fallen down were taken down. We were put into buses and taken to apartments. My Abraham, he works hard, and he found a job in a printing press in Jerusalem. We had three daughters, and after years that went by so slow and so fast, we married them off, one after the other, each to a fine man. At every wedding, I danced and I thought back to our wedding. No guests. No festive meal. There was a pain in my heart from that. My Abraham, did he not deserve more than this?

So that was when I thought, soon it will be the anniversary of our marriage. Forty years. I can make this into a special day.

First, I reached into the kitchen cabinet and took out the jar of red lentils. I spilled out the lentils and took out the money I’d put away over the years. I counted it. Nice.

With it, I could rent a hall and a band, and if I was not too extravagant, I could print invitations with curly letters. When I told Abraham, he waved his hand. “Bah,” he said. “I have a wife. Why do I need another wedding?”

Usually, I’m a good wife who listens to her husband. But I knew that he’d complain and pray out loud, asking Elokim that his wife not turn into a crazy woman, but he’d be happy in his heart.

When I told my daughters, they took me into the bedroom and opened my closet. They took out each dress, examined them all. “Not good enough,” they said. “Not good enough. Not good enough.”

My eldest daughter, Rachel, looked at me and said, “You should wear a dress the color of a peach.” I snorted. Peaches are for eating. Anyway, I told them, there was no money for a new dress.

They looked at each other. “You bought us all our clothing. Now it’s our turn.” They took me to a fancy store and picked out a dress as though I were a small child. Yet when I looked in the mirror, my breathing was funny. I stared and stared, and then I laughed at a foolish woman, who at the age of 57 preens herself like she’s 17.

The day came. All our relatives were there, though they may have thought I’d gone a little funny in the head. All our friends and neighbors. Our rav. We served a beautiful meal and there was dancing, and my daughters lifted me up on a chair, like it was a real wedding. Like I was a real bride.

We sat at the top table, Abraham and I. Just before we washed netilat yadayim, he said, “I have something for you.”

He handed me a bouquet of flowers. I don’t know the names of these things, but fresh and sweet smelling and beautiful. He lifted his hand, his wrinkled, dark hand, and pointed to the middle of the bouquet. In the center was a white wildflower. The same white flower I had picked all those years ago from behind our metal hut in the transit camp…

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 537)

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