I have written about my trip to Israel during the summer of 1985 more times than I can count. There are constant references to it here and a host of others that have shown up in other places. It certainly was among the formative experiences of my life.
Friends, those of you who have spent time in Israel more than likely understand that is a place in which you learn how small the world is. I have spent any time there where I didn’t run into many different people I knew, from all different walks of life and places in my own.
Especially in Jerusalem, it is just one of those places which draws people from everywhere, there is a magic and magnetic pull that draws you in.
Today as is my wont I was haunting Treppenwitz and reading his latest post in which he mentioned having worked at Richie’s Pizza in Jerusalem. It was a place that I spent quite a bit of time at. The pizza wasn’t bad, but it was the board that drew me there. There was this board on which we would leave messages for friends/relatives on how to contact us while in Israel. And it was a place in which you could search for messages for yourself as well.
Call me what you will, but when I look back on my life I can pick that summer out from the rest without any effort. It is like a freaking beacon of light that still shines and always will. I’d say that in some ways I am haunted by that summer, that the feelings and experiences from them are things that I subconsciously am still searching for.
There were ten years between my first trip in 1985 and the follow up in 1995. I was mildly surprised to see that when I returned not only did I find the piece of my soul that I left there but I still knew my way around quite well. In some ways it was as if I had never left and in others it was hard, at least for a few days.
Those first few days I caught myself looking for friends, for people who were back in the states, but had been there the first time. And then I adjusted and stopped looking for them, but made time to seek out the places and things that had made an impact upon me the first time.
Many were gone and some were still there but had lost some of the allure. I went to a couple of the bars I used to hit and was disappointed to see teenagers there, children in my eyes. And I realized that I had been one of those children, albeit I had most definitely not seen myself that way.
It is 20 years now since that summer. One of my best friends was made on that trip, he was like a brother to me. On August 25 it will be seven years since he died and I still miss him.
But when I think about him it is easy to remember what it was like to wander through Jerusalem with him.
Twenty years later….wow. I could not have imagined myself being or looking this way. I couldn’t have done it.
My head is spinning a little and I am drifting through the memories, floating around, cloudlike. Jerusalem still holds a piece of me, I leave it there. Here in the states I am not whole, not broken, but not quite who I could be.
If you’ll forgive the drama and mild hysteria I suspect that in time I’ll return for longer and longer periods of time. And like the elves in LOTR eventually I will leave Middle Earth and head to the docks to sail away.
But not yet, not yet.