Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 202

between them. Elie had a master’s degree from NYU in Middle Eastern studies, and he had barely finished high school. But she wasn’t interested in intellectual stimulation. Such a dalliance with a boy was to palliate her nerves, having just decided to return to the States after five years in Israel. She was coming off a bad time. There had been three months of little sleep and high anxiety, an inability to even make a visit to the local fruit and vegetable stand. And now, a small gift from above. Not that she even believed in G-d or religion for that matter, and wasn’t about to become ardent of faith simply from the possibility of what might only turn out to be a one night stand.

Immediately the smell hit her nostrils, an acrid wetness of mildew and neglect. It was very bare inside the apartment, and there was almost no furniture nor was there a living room, just a tiny kitchen and three bedrooms. He said the paintings on the walls were his father’s, a man he had only spoken to twice in the last seven months. The phone worked, but no outgoing calls could be made. He told her this after she tried to make a phone call but only heard a recording from Bezeq. Elie stared at the paintings, trying to orient herself to this somnolent place; they were somber and aching, male faces gazing out in mute agony that she guessed for some reason were his father, or at least a doppelganger. Amidst the faces were a couple standard landscapes, a somewhat unusual juxtaposition.

He led her to his room and onto a thin dirty mattress without sheets. Not being clean herself she didn’t mind all the dirt but noticed the dust balls gathered in the corners. She made yet another mental note of this place and time, this afternoon. When was the last time she picked up a guy on the street? Not something one could do in America, that was