Israel

Israel
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Allen Lai https://www.flickr.com/photos/78139009@N03/14423581124/
Allen Lai

Will. Works in e-commerce. Writes poetry that he’s happy to share with drunk strangers on his iPhone. One poem is about the wind. The other is about how colours fit feelings. Will makes rich people richer. He proposes a swap. One of his poem’s for one of Hayley’s drawings. She is often naked in these drawings. He appreciates that she is really fit. Will offers us a glass of wine. It’s Italian wine. Ogio. Will can’t pronounce it. His logic is that he has opened the bottle now and his friends are drinking beer. So Will offers us a glass of wine. Things are AMAZING for Will and he LOVES IT. It’s not clear what he loves but he LOVES IT.

Will is very ugly. His eyes pop out of his head quite far. About 3mm I think. He’s overweight and you can see a lot of small veins through his skin. Will is bright red because it’s hot in Lorelai and he is overweight. Will is bald.
I think Will fancies Hayley. He doesn’t give a shit about me but that’s because I’ve already called him WILLS and mimicked him right before his bulging eyes.
When he watches Hayley reading his poems about the wind and colours he leans forward and stares at her. He looks quite romantic when he does this. He’s full of admiration for Hayley because he likes the fact that she’s a struggling artist.
He makes rich people richer but he LOVES IT.

But after my evening with Will and Hayley. After my surprise visit to High Barnet. Dad told me. Dad told me Rosemary had called him on Skype because she couldn’t sleep.
Rosemary couldn’t sleep.
She said Alex was dead. She said Alex had died that day and she couldn’t sleep.
She spoke with Dad on Skype and told Dad Alex had committed suicide that morning.
Alex is dead.
Dad told me in the car when he picked me up.
At midnight, after my surprise visit to High Barnet.
I fell asleep on the tube because I’d had too much of Will’s Italian wine. I fell asleep and woke up in High Barnet.
Alex is dead. I’m in High Barnet. I’m still drunk.
Dad tells me in the car that Alex died.
He committed suicide.
Alex jumped of a high rise building and he’s dead now.
Alex wasn’t sure whether to go to uni or not. He jumped off a high rise building.
The orthodox Jews are praying at the front of the plane.
Jules wants to know what will happen if there’s an emergency. What if there’s an emergency and all the Jews are praying. The children in the seats behind me keep kicking my seat. They’re kicking my back. Alex committed suicide. He jumped off a high rise building yesterday.

There are palm trees in Israel. And Roman mosaics in the airport. Big open spaces. And soldiers walking around in sand coloured uniforms. One talked to me in Hebrew and I blanked him. I didn’t mean to. We’re here because Alex has died.
The air is warm and soft just like in Italy.
The lady driving the car asked questions and rolled her R’s.
We don’t know when the funeral will be. We think tomorrow.
The old man on the plane was drunk. He was shouting with no shoes on. He had socks on.
A lot of people on the plane were in their socks. Some other people on the plane were drunk.
People have walked us to cars briskly. Twice.
We’re in airport city but we’re going to Ramat Hasharon.
Paul said the house is emptying. There were a lot of people there today. There is a huge dinner waiting for us. Alex won’t be there.

Naomi’s house smells like Marion and Ivor’s. But I’m in Israel. We’re in Israel and the garden smells of jasmine. But we talked at Naomi’s and it was intense.
Jules says she’s so glad that we’re staying here. Instead of there. That she feels at home here. That it’s like a weird version of her house.
Zena had a root canal this morning and they set her wrist wrong.
I thought Rosemary’s sister was Rosemary.
Everything is how I imagined it. Only real.
And Alex jumped off a high rise building yesterday morning. He did that. And Jules and I are sharing a double bed in Naomi’s house.

People tear their clothes as a sign of mourning. Naomi says it’s perfectly normal to wear a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
Naomi says life is more real here and more in your face.
Naomi was very depressed when she was young. We were all depressed once.
We talk about it. In her house. In Israel.
Alex jumped off a roof.
I went to my GP.
People aren’t going to stop and think about clothes. There’s the thing about burying the body in 24 hours. You wouldn’t even have the time to get changed if you were coming straight from work.
Dad might be asleep in Alex’s room.
Ben was on the phone twice.
Ben’s quite pale. So is Rosemary. So is Paul. We’re tanned.
I only ate chicken when we got in. Protein only. In Israel.

There’s a photo of Alex on the wall.
His friends are drinking coca cola and talking to Paul in Hebrew.
One of them looks like him.
Zena tells me one of them looks just like Paul Newman.
I eat some chicken because it’s high in protein. I don’t eat any fruit.

Naomi’s garden smells of jasmine.

David says he likes my shoes.
It’s very dramatic weather. We have two pink umbrellas from Naomi.
Dad says it’s very dramatic weather. Dad says he spoke to Paul last night. And Paul wasn’t surprised.
Alex was on the roof last week.
Sherry is not kosher.
Annette tells me and Jules to wrap cutlery in paper napkins.
She realises we’re his cousins and holds my hand.
Alex’s body is wrapped in a white sheet. I can’t tell which end is which.
His friends talk around me.
They have a bomb shelter in the building.
Alex had to be talked off the roof of the house last week.
When he jumped off the high rise he left a briefcase behind but Paul can’t face opening it yet.
I talk to A…
Ben’s friends look older than 24. Maybe when you’re forced to do something you don’t want to do for a while you look at life differently.
H… says most young Israelis suffer from depression after military service. H… says it may sound weird but he always loved reading about diseases. H… is going to be a doctor.
P… loves hummus. What a joker.
H… asked me if I’d ever seen the desert.
David and I talk about therapy.
I’m surrounded by boys.
You can meet strangers and on a day like this you end up knowing them.
We talked about marmite. Jewish. As a nationality.

Ben’s t-shirt is torn.
Alex is wrapped in a sheet.
People tear their clothes as a sign of mourning.
Alex’s friends are crying. Alex’s friends are smoking. Alex’s friends are sitting on the grass. Ben’s friends are sitting on chairs.
Alex tried jumping off the roof of his house last week. But they got him down. They talked him out of it. They coaxed him down. Alex sang a song. He wrote a song and sang it. When he sang his friends clapped. They clapped and wouldn’t stop clapping. Alex sang a song. Alex jumped off a high rise building in Ramat Hasharon.

 

People are eating salmon. Eggs. Mackerel.
There are lots of plastic boxes with Hebrew on them.
David prides himself on his food shopping.
Alex’s friends talk.
I feel younger than them. Because they are more down to earth than me.
I feel calm. I feel sad for Alex.
Suddenly they feel like family. I’m Jewish.
Half Jewish. If it’s a nationality.

Xenia is so nice. Julia says she’s like us.
Julia said she felt so happy to have met Xenia today. That she helped her. David finished my sentence. About feeling like we’ve always known each other.
Alex’s friend has to think four times. Not just twice. Four times before he says anything because he knows he can be immature.
Why don’t they call it breast stroke anymore?
Zena warns me about whom to avoid in the room.
She’s right every time.

Ben’s friends are sitting on chairs. H… looks French and Italian. He asks me if I’ve ever seen the desert.
They seem older than me. That’s because they’re more down to earth.
Alex’s friends carry him wrapped in cloth.
I put a stone on his grave.
Alex is covered in stones. Alex is wrapped in cloth. Alex sang a song and his friends clapped. They’ll come to the house every day. Of Shiva. Shiva for a week. People every day for a week.
Alex’s friends will sit on the grass every day of Shiva.

Rosemary has lost her appetite.
Everyone keeps telling us we must come and visit properly. Israel. We’ve been in Israel for a day and I’m Jewish. And Alex is covered by stones. Alex is wrapped in a sheet in the earth. In Israel. I’ve never been here before. Alex isn’t here.

Shiva means seven.
You can see the Mediterranean and Palestine from Zena’s flat.
It’s so Mediterranean.
You’ve got to give up your pedantic English ways.
We must send Zena some tea.
We must come back to Israel.
Rescue remedy is very good.

I’m scared of going back.
Dad kisses me on the forehead.
Jules is happy we all came here together.
But I’m scared of going back.
Something has changed or gone back. Something is back in place or changed. I’m not sure. But now I’m afraid of going back.
Because Alex is covered with earth and stones.
Hopefully somewhere safer and calmer.
But I’m still here.
I’m not somewhere safer. I’m not somewhere calmer.
I’m happy we came here together.
I can’t go back alone. I can’t go back to before.
We’re an interesting family.

Dad used to save the core of his carrots.
Jules used to peel off the skin of her chicken nuggets and dip it in sweet and sour sauce.
Jules is in Ben Gurion airport.
Jules is eating nuggets with sweet and sour sauce.
Jules is crying.

Low level lighting will guide me to an exit.
Alex is wrapped in a sheet under the stones.
Jules says she hopes Rosemary won’t become too depressed.
Remember to put your own mask on before helping others with theirs.
Jules and I cry. Jules and I talk.
Dad likes the recorded voice.
We all hold hands.
It’s Shabat so there are no Jews on the plane. Dad says.
Alex jumped off a high rise building on Wednesday morning. In Ramat Hasharon.
It was a four storey building.
It’s not the kind of place you jump off if you’ve been planning it a long time.
It’s Shabat. There are no Jews on the plane.
Alex jumped off a high rise building three days ago.
There’s electric land below us. I feel so sad. This has been so intense. Israel is intense. Dad said. Too many Jews. Too many intense Jews on electric land.

chiara.goldsmith

About Chiara Goldsmith

I am an actress living in London. I devise my own material as a performer and work in collaboration with another performer and various theatre companies in the UK and Spain. I also work as a voice over artist and "normal" actress for tv and film!

I am an actress living in London. I devise my own material as a performer and work in collaboration with another performer and various theatre companies in the UK and Spain. I also work as a voice over artist and "normal" actress for tv and film!

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