Impatiently Yitzhak tore the coloured wrapping paper off the retirement gift he had received from his work place and his eyes spotted an exquisite globe. After many years of devoted work at the travel office “Global Tours”, scarcely missing a day, he got a symbolic gift that expressed appreciation for his commitment and devotion to his work.
He placed the globe carefully on the table of his living room and looked at it from different angles. The surface was a coloured relief featuring mountains and valleys, deserts and seas in appropriate colours and concrete shapes. Another look taught him the names of the countries and their capital cities marked by a set of little flags, placed on models of miniature cities.
The globe itself was set in a wooden frame that served as a base for the axis around which it rotates. Arrows were attached to the frame pointing to the flag of the country and its capital at the end of the rotation. At that moment Yitzhak decided to rotate the globe and travel to the location pointed at by the arrow for a long vacation free of everyday worries.
As the globe rotated, Yitzhak gazed at it waiting to see where he was going to spend his spontaneous vacation. Lands and cities passed swiftly in front of his eyes while he tried to guess to what country the arrow would point when the rotation came to an end. Finally the arrow pointed to “Israel-Jerusalem”. The result came as a surprise to him, as he and his family had been residents of Jerusalem for five generations and he decided to try again, and like before he looked apprehensively to see where it would stop.
To his surprise the arrow again showed “Israel-Jerusalem” and the same result was repeated after he had rotated the globe for the third time. This co-incidence aroused his suspicion that the mechanism inside the globe was out of order from the very beginning. With his deft and skilful hands that he had used in the past to repair office equipment in the travel office aided by the technical sense that he possessed, Yitzhak dismantled the parts of the globe encircling the mechanism, and arranged them side by side on the living room table.
A thorough look at the mechanism showed him how the cog wheel and the metal parts of the set of small flags that rotated the globe, worked in harmony. After a few slight alterations he assumed that he had achieved his aim and from then on he needed only a few minutes to reassemble the globe back to its original state in order to realize his plans for a vacation.
Certain that he had succeeded in restoring the mechanism of the globe, Yitzhak rotated it lightly. At the end of the rotation the arrow showed a different outcome – “Bern, Switzerland”. From his long experience as a travel agent he knew that at this time of the year the beauty of Switzerland is revealed in its full glory and the weather is eminently suitable for a long relaxed vacation. Therefore he immediately began to make the necessary arrangements for his trip.
“Global tours, Shalom, Nurit speaking. Can I help you?” this was a new travel agent who had probably replaced him and therefore did not recognize him. However, this did not interest him as his mind was set on realizing his dream holiday as soon as possible and he requested tickets for a flight to Switzerland in business class for the coming day.
“Sorry Sir, because of the holiday season all flights to the destination you requested are full for the next month. Could we interest you in other destinations such as Spain or Italy?” Yitzhak did not believe his ears and refused to change his plans and accept her suggestion to fly to another destination although it might have been a good substitute.
The travel agent tried another suggestion: “Sir, if you are not interested in another destination abroad, perhaps I could suggest a wonderful holiday in the country. Do you know how beautiful Jerusalem is at this time of the year? You can spend a wonderful holiday there, Sir….”
Her suggestion was answered by loud shattering sounds. After Yitzhak had finished smashing the globe on the wall and tearing it to pieces, he went into the bedroom and locked the door. As long as it depended on him he would never leave it again.
Ya`ara is sitting on the two-seat sofa, in a melancholic mood, with a bowl of prunes on her lap. Now she tries to find consolation in them, yesterday it was raisins.
A lone cloud in the shape of a heart, hanging in the sky, could be seen through the open window, Every time this sign appears in the sky, the expression on her face turns childish-romantic and she knows that I am at her side, even when I am far away from her. From her point of view, this is the ultimate proof of my love for her. Hoping to see her romantic smile again, I straightened my back on the bookcase we had chosen, whose parts I assembled myself, and pointed outside in front of her lying bundled on the sofa, but she only said: “close the window, its cool”, and continued to munch raisins. This was not her favourite season.
In a repeated attempt to improve her mood and make her laugh, I held the screwdriver in my hand like a paintbrush and drew a curled line over the living room, encircling both of us in an imaginary spiral ending on her lips. “You made a nice display but I prefer the usual bookcase”, she murmured and disappeared under the flowery blanket.
“Any raisins left?” , I asked, bending to reinforce the last screw in my “creation”. I thought that in spite of their wrinkled appearance they would be a suitable offering in this situation. I found a few solitary raisins on the marble in the kitchen, and after having placed them comfortably on one of the arms of the display, I declared aloud: “I will call you Elsa, sister of Yohanan, Sarit and Omri”.
“Salvador, it is ridiculous to give furniture human names. When you are finished with the Bienale, please turn off the light”.
“Did you notice that even the raisins look desperate? Do you hear? Even Jack, the fishmonger’ who sells Tuna fish in the market, said to me: “this season all the fruits are sad”. “Tuna fish?!” she yawned and curled herself into her favorite position of a foetus.
I closed the window of the living room and before I turned off the light I noticed that her body was moving restlessly under the blanket. Probably she dreamt that Elsa was dancing in a trance in the centre of the clearing in the forest with excited raisins dancing round her in a circle.
“Good night, raisin.”
The desolate desert landscape was the only one that passed in front of Shaul`s tired face for many hours. Here and there he spied a stream, meandering between the bare mountains and accompanied it with his eyes. When he stopped, refreshing himself with little water was left in the bottle , he noticed several foot-prints showing signs of animals escaping to find shelter from the heat of the blazing sun. His body was weary from the longstanding effort and only the knowledge that in a short time he would catch sight of an oasis, raised his spirits and encouraged him to continue with his journey.
When the slender outline of the oasis began to appear, he rubbed his eyes in astonishment, although he had expected this. At first he glimpsed only the palm trees with bunches of fruit, then their trunks, surrounded by rich vegetation, and finally a body of sweet water, glistening under the effect of the sun-rays descending directly from above. If he could only communicate the strong impression of this experience to his friends, who preferred to forego the desert journey for a conventional holiday in a hotel in Greece “everything included”. He consoled himself in the hope that in the next journey he would persuade them to join him, especially since some of them had begun to show a more appreciative attitude; but first, he had to finish the program of this journey.
His journey was interrupted suddenly. On the television screen in front of him, a flickering notice could be seen saying that " on account of a technical error, broadcasts on this channel would be stopped temporarily and the travel program would be renewed shortly, we regret the inconvenience”. Shaul continued to sit motionlessly in his easy chair in the living room, his eyes resting on the gold-coloured winning cup on the T.V. set, celebrating his victory in the district contest in the category of “Journey in the Arctic Landscape”. This victory enabled him to move on to the next stage of the country-wide contest of “In-door travels”, but what was he to do now after his training program was discontinued, he thought aloud. He had prepared a long time for this contest “Journey in the Desert Landscape”, and now the country-wide contest was approaching.
He rose heavily from his easy chair and immediately had to lean on the nearby windowsill, his head dizzy after sitting in the chair for a long time. Looking at the window he realized that the sun was shining and although he walked hesitantly, he decided to go out into the street, into his neighbourhood and his childhood landscape, into the world which his travels had almost dismissed from his mind.
A light wind caressed his face and standing outside his house he suddenly remembered something his mother had always said to him, “Shaul, you made your first steps in the world hesitantly”.
She managed to throw all the objects she could lay her hands on, at him, and now she walked stealthily towards the buffet. His absolute silence infuriated her, and he, from his hiding place, with all the broken objects scattered around him, remembered how he had fallen in love with her at first sight, the moment their eyes met when the door of the lift opened in the office building where she worked. Her gaze was sharp and cold and she wore a red tailored suit, but even then he saw everything in pink, his pink.
He had always wished that the woman he would fall in love with, would break the dullness of his life and shake up his world, but now the walls of their apartment were shaking and apparently she is not finished yet. His mother in law was right when she called him politely to warn him against the explosive inner fire in the soul of his beloved that had grown worse as she matured. His own father and mother were right as well when they saw the destructive results of her playing around with him during his courtship of her and tried to persuade him not to choose her as his mate.
The loud noises could be heard clearly all over the apartment building and they caused the curious neighbours to gather outside the door of their apartment, concerned that she might be suffering very much, whereas in reality he was crouching, hiding behind the two-seat sofa, and loving her just like that, wild and angry.
In response to the neighbours` attempt to knock on their door and call him to stop tormenting her – and if not, they would call the police – came the turn of the expensive porcelain dishes, stored in the buffet. A set of decorated plates was flung at the door vigorously and they too were broken to pieces.
The neighbours did not despair of their efforts and even summoned the community policeman on duty, but even before he had arrived to perform his task, the noises stopped all of a sudden. On hearing sounds of crying, they both hurried to the infant`s room softly and tenderly.