from All of Reality to Me

Hedva Harechavi

6. I look at you with eyes brimming with tears in the eyes, why did I imagine that you are on my side, at my side, wrapping your arms around my neck, warmly holding my head between your bony fingers, whispering something in my ear, wishing with your entire being to gift me your soul. Why, always, when my illusions end, the touch—the touch of arteries, of hands, the touch of the water’s blood—only then, at the end, you always gift me your soul. Why did you gift me your soul. Why suddenly did you feel the need. Where did it come from

But only when we drank each other’s blood, only after we drank each other’s blood as a blood covenant for everlasting eternity, only then did I know how fragile this thing is, namely, our lives, how liable they are to become easy prey in an instant, to hop on a rotten piece of wood, to build a home with, a home that will burn forever; to turn upside down, to rage, to lose control, to gallop like a sphinx upon the ruins of our emotions, to trick us at will, to exact from us whatever they want, even if something else appears, if it appears
13. I wept when I read “I don’t like these letters and I don’t want to answer them” as you wrote me. Namely, nothing connected for you, nothing touched you. And yet, always, yes, always, always, more so than ever. At times, as if according to a plan from above, I was there. Alone. Together. Next to you. Together. Without you. And I tried to talk to you. I wanted so much to talk, to talk, to talk. For you to agree to talk. To talk. Together. Together. Everything. About everything. No affectation. No pretense. No deception. To be your girlfriend. To be you. To be me. To be a me that is you. To be a you that is me. Simple, just like that

To stand alone under clouds, looking at the sky, imagining you sailing across the firmament on the boat “Beautiful Isadora,” sailing in the blue, the center of the blue, resting your head on the peaceful air, sailing across fertile land, sailing in a dimple, sailing next to me, behind the small door of the room, sailing with ice bags to cool the ghosts racing in the dim room, here, in this uncertain place, etching my misgivings on my graying hair, sailing in pace with my night dream
17. I recalled the whims of a water-logged bird, recoiling in the background, furrowing her brow, walking inside, spreading her wings, opening a circle, recording her life between broken walls, begging for a life all her own, hopping away, hopping hopping hopping

I push aside her trivial problems, gather to my bosom her pretentions, wipe the tears of her delusions, imploring her that yes, imploring her that no, forever no
18. I recalled dancers that longed to touch her, feel her

19. I recalled a silence that became a medium
20. I recalled the small bordering wall, how wonderful it was to find shelter from the wind, to gather the barks of dogs, to lay them at the feet of dawn, facing the gate of roses, and all of Anarchy leans over me, her head signaling to me, proposing “Come, let us be like God, let us not dwell on trivialities.” I begin to receive preliminary crumbs of information about what is yet to come, priceless crumbs that only intuition knows how to grant  

21. I recall the reception room, a room: a room filled with microphones, loudspeakers, instructions received on white pieces of paper, walls scrawled with colorful chalk, cuckoo clocks scattered on the floor that’s been covered with letters that have never been sent. And you—or me—lunge at the windows, stab the curtains, rattle the window frames, hurl the rugs, jolt the ceiling, wave a colorful lampshade and scream: “All of reality to me. All of reality to me. All of reality to me. All of reality to me”
30. And now empathy: a small stone becomes a tower. A door becomes flowing water. A blade becomes an eyelid. I cover the clock, lock time in a box, close the attic, fold the waves, call upon the seals to return to their homes

31. Looking at one another, every so often one leaning against the other, we slowly slowly began to take off our coats. And this after an entire night of wandering in public parks to make it through yet another night filled with hoodlums, thieves, hustlers, cross-dressers, pedophiles, perverts, prostitutes, who wished to share with us yet another minute, another second, another night, another hell, another glass of red wine

And there was also the emotional tumult that pierced us and wouldn’t let go, and you said “Thanks for Dusty Springfield singing ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’ that you dedicated to me”

32. Earlier, you stopped by for a moment, flitting, dreamlike
33. First there was reality. The earth was a mystical carpet. Now reality is unfettered: I sail between God’s bare feet
39. Now the two of us walk the streets like two ghostly hallucinations who have no idea where they’re headed, carrying nylon bags packed with candy, cigarettes, matches, screwdrivers, stamps, pencils, pens, chalk, erasers, colored paper, pins, beads, buttons, thread, needles, glue, thumbtacks, rubber bands, labels, paperclips, tissues, a Dictaphone

We who love to sleep on straw mattresses, on the floor, amid saucers overflowing with French cigarette butts, Gauloise, with the odor of nicotine on our clothes, sleeping in our clothes, or without; with no one there to fathom the din of our unruliness, to check on our things, to make sure nothing has been stolen; someone who would grasp the meaning of the bloated shadow in the armchair, the blood on the undershirt, the tear, the lizard strolling on one of the socks, the drone of the feet, and who’s responsible for the mess in our playroom
43. I woke up hollow and old, looked at the spider’s web, touched my hair, listened to the wishes of the night beast, clad in coronation garments, climbing barefoot toward the abyss, leaping into the depths, dropping her idolized head onto the wise hands of the holy Jeanne d’Arc  

I recalled Meego, clad in his regular house clothes, looking at his old sandals, his extinguished cigarette, making coffee, going outside, touching everyone, expressing his opinion, briefly turning his head back, looking here and there, smiling at me—restoring my equilibrium—crowding at my side, urging me to stand up straight, and the way he looks at me, smiling and saying “You will never be alone again. One day I’ll get married, and you will live with us—you and I and my wife and my kids,” rejoicing toward the sun, singing, full of life, watering the flowers, noticing the bees, walking among the fruit-laden trees, flooding me with questions
50. Sometimes I imagine myself already after my death, laid out in my coffin, floating in the dim grave, reeking of nicotine, ditto the clothes, holding fast onto a red rose that would protect me against the barrage of aircrafts, trusting that no harm would come my way. People crowd around my coffin. They remind me of porcupines, concertinas, water, lions, mountains, kites, canoes, night, clouds. It’s as if each one of them is music for a wondrous garden of mysteries. I look at the garlands of flowers around me, and all I want is to go back home, wait for you on the rug, drink another Campari, and you will arrive, hopping across the fragments, collapsing among the flowers, tousling my hair, whirring my thoughts, extolling each and every conceivable thing        

52. And one evening, when we meet, Oh Rana, when we meet, one evening, when we meet, when we meet, and you will look at me with kind eyes, and you will tell me things you’ve never told anyone. Our thoughts will split to the sides, winds will howl, we’ll be cold, a late-night café will remind us of a photo album of other days, and you will wrap your arms around my neck, and we will sing at the top of our voices, and we will regret nothing   

translated from the Hebrew by Tsipi Keller