After a long time. I’ve been struggling with writing, what to write, how to write…
And, as it happens, we are being bombed. Not at this precise moment, but at any given moment the sirens can go off, the beeper start beeping, and we are all running for the centre of the house. At least in my family. There are people on our moshav who don’t even bother to move when the alert goes. We have no safe rooms on our moshav, and no useable bomb shelters. So, they continue to sit on their porch or mirpesset and listen to the rockets tear past (so far this time they’ve all gone past, Barukh Hashem – thank goodness).
When writing about the bombing, people (including myself) tend to take an hysterical tone. We are freaking out, we are being BOMBED, we want people to notice, to care, to actually acknowledge/recognize the horrible situation we are in. This is hard even in a world where the newspapers don’t start the article with ‘IDF Strikes Gaza,’ and then five paragraphs in in small type ‘in retaliation for missile strikes in…’ What is even better is when it is in retaliation for ‘claimed’ strikes. Yeah, I’m claiming I’m being bombed here. It’s the booms that are my biggest clue.
Writing in hysterical tone gets old, and doesn’t communicate. I’ve tried many times to write about my life here during the bombings, trying to be matter-of-fact and calm. It works about as well as you might expect. And gets about as much attention. The world, it seems, isn’t interested and doesn’t want to know. And, although we do carry on our lives pretty much as normal, that doesn’t mean that it *is* normal, or that that means everything is okay. It’s just that you can’t spend weeks on end just huddling in the centre of the house. And so you emerge and do your laundry, cook something, you need to buy food so you get in the car and go shopping. You hope like hell there isn’t a rocket while you are driving, or while you are someplace where you don’t know where the safer places are (no place in the open is safe, but obviously if you can put a wall between you and Gaza, that is better).
I’m trying to write about it, what it is like for me, my family, in a place where we carry on our lives as usual, only there are bombs falling all around. This is my first try.
In the evening, after supper, relaxing a bit and enjoying some time with my youngest daughter, and youngest son and husband. The rocket alert ‘tzeva adom’ sounded and we hurried to the center of the house; we have no bomb shelter or safe room. It was very unusual in that there were four alerts in a row. We generally wait five minutes after the alert to be sure that anything launched has had a chance to hit before we move out, but each time the alert stopped it restarted again.
This meant that my husband, oldest and youngest sons, youngest daughter and I were all huddled very closely together for almost twenty minutes. A couple of the rockets passed so close we felt the wind of it, shaking the walls of the house that we were leaning on. I had grabbed a ball of yarn and needles with a blanket I am working on, so I knitted as we waited for the all clear.
It is a kind of intense together time that is hard to describe. Oldest son said he wanted to put a book in the hallway where we all gather, so that next time we’re there he can read aloud some of it. Youngest daughter said she wanted to be able to say she wasn’t up to listening sometimes. Youngest son was trapped against the end of the hall, the doorway to oldest son’s room, and couldn’t move at all until we all started to move out at the end.
One of our dogs was outside when the alert sounded. She barked desperately to be let in and threw herself at the door, whining and crying. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and went to the side, actually back of the house, and called her to me to come in. It’s risking my life for a dog, but I’m maybe kind of silly that way. Besides, we’ve never been hit. You get a little superstitious about things like that.
It’s weird to think of time like that as family togetherness, but it really is. It also makes it hard to think about other stresses in life – my sister trying to escape from the nursing home, my daughter-in-law who isn’t talking to me… It all seems to become – not irrelevant, but completely over-shadowed by the immediate situation. I need to think about and work through relationship stuff, but, perhaps, not while there are rockets falling.
I’ll try to keep writing even if the rockets stop. *wry grin* Is that a reason to hope they keep coming? But it seems I’ve found my topic, at least for now. More to follow…