The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
A Rainy Day
It rained in Jerusalem. It rained in Bethlehem. It snowed somewhere in the mountains across the Sinai; for the rest … just scattered flurries.
In their hotel, at a table, they nibbled on croissants, drank coffee, read the news. They were in Tel Aviv. The weather was bad in Israel as for the first time, they contemplated divorce, the end of their short marriage.
She broke the silence:
‘I can’t stand it. There has to be a better place.’
‘Better? It was your idea.’
‘What was my idea?’
‘The Holy Land.’
She looked away while he continued:
‘And you’re not even religious.’
‘I am so. Maybe not religious, but spiritual.’
‘It’s the same thing.’
‘It’s not. Besides we’re here because of the place’s history.’
‘We could’ve gone to Egypt.’ he said.
‘I wanted a Christmas in Bethlehem.’
‘So maybe, after all, you are religious.’
‘And now we’re here in Tel Aviv. And it’s raining.’
‘By the way, there was an attack at the market.’
‘Yeah? This coffee is horrid! When?’
‘Today? You’d never guess.’
She thought about their marriage; how passionless it was of late and said:
‘Right. You’d never guess.’
He raised his eyes from the newspaper, put the cup down and asked:
‘How many dead?’
‘A few I suppose.’
Later it stopped raining; the few frail, uninspiring clouds posed no threat, but it was still windy and cold.
They left Tel Aviv, alone on an empty bus, and moved on to Jerusalem. Certain things had been left unsaid, unexplained, but out of a habit of the most recent months, they kept them to themselves.
In Jerusalem, they went to a café and then off to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The place was dark and cavernous, easy to get lost in, to separate. They held hands, but just for a moment. They felt they were in the womb of the Earth or, because of the thick smoke of incense, in hell – dark tunnels, burning wax and people, sweat. And they saw figures moving in and out of darkness, deformed, crippled, tall, short; all scary. They saw a priest, a youth with a Gypsy face, a boy of no more than twelve, clad in a black soutane with a dirty collar, with a dirty neck. A monk in a filthy cassock, fat with long greasy hair, dirty hands, fingernails, guarded a tomb; here once lay the body of Christ, the inscription said. She was confused, He was dismayed. They were both at loss for words, even thoughts, and again for a moment, they were together.
They left the church, wandered with no aim, walked the narrow, clattered streets of Jerusalem. At last, they reached the Wailing Wall. Here, as was the custom, they went their separate ways; she, to the right with other women; he, to the left. Later she scribbled her wish on a leave of paper and, crumbled, thumbed it into a crevice between two large blocks of the ancient wall. Some distance away, he did the same.
© Piotr Wesolowski Feb 2011