For the first few years after the bombing it worried Rami that he was repeating himself. He sometimes had to tell Smadar ’ mho history two or three times a day. once in the dawn at a school. once in the after- noon at the Parents Circle offices. then again at night in a synagogue or a residential district dormitory or a mosque. To pastors. A ’ immah. Rabbis. Reporters. Cameramen. Schoolkids. Senators. Visitors from Sweden, Mexico, Azerbaijan. The bereaved from Venezuela, Mali, China, Indonesia, Rwanda, who had come to visit the holy place places. On occasion – early on, before he allowed himself to be comfortable in the repetition – he found himself pausing in mid-sentence, wondering if he had precisely said the same thing twice in the span of minutes, not just a general repetition, but the accurate lapp words in a row, with the same intonation, the lapp facial expressions, as if somehow he had reduced the history to the mechanical, the rhythm of the casual. It bothered him to think that the listeners might look at him as a broken- down reel, trapped by the monotony of his grief. Afterwards he would realise he had left out unharmed chunks of what he rightfully wanted to say. It flushed him with fear that he might appear deceitful, theatrical, rehearse. As if his history was a post, a commercial, bound to repeat. He could feel the heating system lift in his face. His palm grew sweaty. On the second or one-third telling in a sidereal day, he found himself pinching the skin on his forearms to jolt himself awake, to make sure he wasn ’ thyroxine retreading old territory. My name is Rami Elhanan. I am the church father of Smadar. I am a seventh-generation Jerusalemite.
He wondered how actors did it. To say the lapp matter meaning- amply, operation after performance. What classify of discipline did it take ? once a sidereal day. doubly on matinee days. How could they, in that end- less repetition, continue to make it actual ? How could they keep it alive ? But the more he went on – the more the history took on a singular condition – the more he began to realise that it did not matter. There was, he knew, constantly an end to the run of an actor, but he had no such end. No final curtain call. No ovation. No thousand finale for him. No walk out the stage door, greatcoat on, collar turned up. No streetlit alley. No rain falling on the grey cobbled street. No dawn recapitulation. No fawning adulation. He began to understand that it wasn ’ t a performance. His was a beginning without an end. There was nothing theatrical about it at all. He could make of it whatever heaven or hell he wanted. He settled into the repetition : it was his consecrate and his excommunicate. He spoke to academics, to artists, to schoolkids, to Israelis, to Palestinians, to Germans, to the Chinese, whoever would listen. christian groups. swedish scientists. south african police delegations. The country was, he told them, written on a bantam canvas. Israel could fit inside New Jersey. The West Bank was smaller than Delaware. Four Gazas could be shoehorned inside London. One hundred Israels could be placed inside Argentina and you ’ d still have some board for the pampas. Israel and Palestine together were one-fifth the size of Illinois. It was infinitesimal, yes, but something pulsed at its core, something spare, original, nuclear : he liked that word, nuclear. The atoms of his narrative pressed against one another. The force of what he wanted to say. There were times he felt he was standing external himself, hovering, watching himself, but it didn ’ t matter : he connected with the words now, they were his, he owned them, they were spoken for a aim. He wanted to waken the sleep in his listeners. To see a jolt in them. Just for a split second. To see an eye open. Or a lift eyebrow. That was enough. A shot in the wall, he said. A rumple of doubt. Anything. When he spoke he saw Smadar again. Her egg-shaped face. Her brown eyes. Her turn-to-the-shoulder laugh. In a garden. In Jerusalem. With a white set in her hair .
soon they were meeting about every individual day. More than their jobs, this became their jobs : to tell the story of what had happened to their girls. Rami handed over the reins to his partner in his graphic design company. Bassam cut back on his shape hours in the Sports Ministry and the palestinian Archives. The two began working officially with the Parents Circle. They were paid a living engage. They travelled whenever they could. Met with philanthropists. Lectured at foundations. Had dinner with diplomats. Spoke at military schools. They carried their stories with them. It didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate topic that they were repeating the same words over and all over again. They knew that the people they spoke to were hearing it for the first time : at the begin of their own alphabets .
It sometimes surprised Rami that he could reach so far inside he could discover new ways of saying the same matter. He was, he knew, making Smadar continually present. It slid something sharply and burning into his ribcage, prised him even further open. once or twice, at the lectures, he looked across to see the surprise on Bassam ’ s face, as if the new phrase had fair sliced him open besides .
The force of the fire on Ben Yehuda Street knocked her high in the air travel .
There are times I think she might have been hitching a rise to heaven .
I can calm hear the chute of the rollers on that cold metallic tray .
Physics stole her hang glide .
Bassam kept unlike pieces adrift in his mind, tried them out for size, rearranged them, jumped around, juggled them, shattered their one-dimensionality. He liked to put the groups at facilitate. I spent seven years in prison, and then I got married. You want to know about occupation ? Try six kids in two bedrooms. Hey, who in their right mind gives the job of lookout to the guy with the limp ? The groups weren ’ thymine certain how to take his quips at first. They fidgeted, glanced away. But there was something magnetic about him and slowly he drew them back again. I ’ m the only man who ever went to England, he said, and liked the upwind. His accent was thick. He rolled the words around in his mouth. But he spoke softly, musically. He could quote poetry : Rumi, Yeats, Darwish. It didn ’ t matter if he fractured the report here and there : it was more like a song than history to him, he wanted to get to the deep rhythm of it.
A bony structure at the bed of the trachea – the syrinx – is integral to the voice box of birds. With its surrounding air travel sauk, the syrinx resonates to sound waves created by membranes along which the shuttlecock forces air. The pitch of the song is created when the bird shifts the tension on the membranes. The volume is controlled by the force of exhalation. The boo can control two sides of the trachea independently so that some species can produce two clear-cut notes at once .
At nox Rami read Smadar a children ’ sulfur version of One Thousand and One Nights in Hebrew. Her eyes fluttered as she listened. Sinbad the Sailor. Julnar the Sea-Born. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Aladdin and His fantastic Lamp. Smadar always seemed to wake about three-quarters of the way through each floor .
certain birds are said to sleep in mid-flight. They do so in short ten-second bursts, normally after twilight. The bird is able to switch off one side of its genius in order to rest, while the early slope continues its rhythmical watchfulness to avoid crashing into a fellow flier and to watch out for predators .
A frigate shuttlecock can stay aloft for two whole months without touching down on either land or water .
One afternoon, in a souk on Al-Zahra Street, Borges said to his listeners that One Thousand and One Nights could be compared to the creation of a cathedral or a beautiful mosque, and possibly it was even more brilliant than that since, unlike a cathedral or a mosque, none of its authors, or creators – the actual builders – were mindful that they were contributing to the construction of a koran. Their stories had been gathered at different times, in ten thousand places, Baghdad, Damascus, Egypt, the Balkans, India, Tibet, and from different sources excessively, the Jataka Tales and the Katha Sarit Sagara, and then were repeated, refined, translated, first gear in French, then in English, changed once again and passed on, entering yet another lore. The stories existed on their own at first, said Borges, and were then joined together, strengthening one another, an dateless cathedral, a widening mosque, a random everywhere. It was what Borges called a creative infidelity. Time appeared inside time, inside so far another time. The koran was, he said, so huge and inexhaustible that it was not tied necessity to have read it since it was already an intricate region of hu- world ’ s unconscious memory .
They were so close that, after a while, Rami felt that they could finish each other ’ s stories. My identify is Bassam Aramin. My list is Rami Elhanan. I am the beget of Abir. I am the don of Smadar. I am a seventh-generation Jerusalemite. I was born in a cave near Hebron. Word for give voice, pause for pause, hint for breath .
Arrangements for Smadar ’ second funeral were made immediately. Phone calls. Emails. Telegrams. jewish law requires that a body be buried a soon as possible, complete with all its limbs and organs : the soul is considered to be in convulsion until it is in the grind.
Muslim jurisprudence excessively, though at first the patrol didn ’ t return the bodies of the three bombers to their families. For years afterwards they were stored in blue plastic bags in a lock refrigerator vault in the morgue in Jerusalem . Excerpted with license from Apeirogon, A Novel, Colum McCann, Bloomsbury .