A few months ago we traveled to Milano (if you recall my trip as Milano, you weird thing!) for a weekend. I wrote little about the actual purpose of the visit, because it was not so important. But today, I want to talk about it: we went there to cheer for the Israeli Maccabi Basketball Team. If you would have asked me a few years ago, whether this is among my plans or desires, I would have kindly asked you to know me better.
But again, with the flow of life, we change. We were two of us, walking back to our hotel, while my other half continued to assure me how much I will enjoy, how fun it will be, what great tickets we have and so on and so on. So yeah, my stomach got some tickle after all his enthusiasm. This was the moment, when I spotted a whole bunch of familiar yellow-blue shirted team.
I got so excited telling my boyfriend: ‘look they must be all from israel, so cool, go talk to them’.
And in that moment, he became that so beloved Israeli himself, he turned into the guy he can only be around Israelis, free from any constrains, laid-back and (I am sorry) but so sexy.
I do not know if you believe in coincidences or the lack of it for that matter, but there was a guy, whose aura just dragged us both. Or we dragged his? Unknown, yet out of the many cheerful Maccabi fans we met him in the middle of the spacious and lively reception.
He was Y. (i will not use his full name, since I did not ask his permission). Y. is a handsome guy in his mid-30’s, whose eyes are warm, whose gestures are honest and whose voice is calming. In 5 minutes our intimate you-and-me Maccabi weekend turned into one of the greatest experiences. Y. invited us to join their group without a second thought, without knowing us, without asking anything. In a few minutes, we got a T-shirt to match the team, a cap, food, drink and laugh after laugh. Needless to say, by this time, I was already super excited. The power of good vibes.
Y. also made sure we can take their bus from the hotel to the arena and we arranged to sit with them even if meant a downgrade of our tickets. Who cares if all you get in return are smiley faces? The bus trip was the first, when I was awakened (again) from my Sleeping Beauty dream: The two buses were accompanied by 6-7 police cars. I am not used to this. And while, my other half said, it is good, they protect us. The only thing I could think of is to protect from what? Are they about to attack us? I got a knot in my stomach. The sweet unknown areas of life…. The match itself is not even important at the moment. We lost…
Or I am unsure how to put it: can you say friendship after 1 day spent together? I think yes, you can. Following a great dinner with Y. and some people from the group, we changed email addresses and sad goodbye. (Y. gave us his handmade Israeli cheering flag, to make sure we keep a memory from the weekend. He did not know that we got much more precious presents: to get to know him.)
Since then, we keep in touch. Y. writes us. We write him. Y. is interested about us. We are interested about him. I call this friendship. Sometimes you don’t need years to know, whether you can count on somebody as your friend, sometimes a look in the eye is enough to tell you: yes, he is your friend.
So Y. is my friend. And today (3 month after our look)
Y. is in the army.
Instead of loose jeans with the cheerful-yellow Maccabi shirt he is all in green-grey massive uniform with a heavy-looking bag and soldier boots (I heard so much about them already). Y. is out there. Y. is on the fields, where guns, rifles, rockets are giving the background noise, while ruined buildings, terrorist tunnels and the body of gone souls give the backdrop. Not exactly the picture of the comfortable hotel in Milano.
My lovely, cheerful, free friend is in the army. And every time I see a picture of him I get a chill on my skin, knot in my stomach, and tears in my eyes. Oh how distanced worlds we are living in. I freak out on a bus full of Israelis because police is everywhere, while he one day enjoys his daily routine and the next he is dressed as a determined, proud soldier.
Wonder how can you cope with this?! How can you handle these dramatic changes in your life every now and then? How? Tell me how?
Y., my Friend!
Take care of yourself! We agreed that we meet in August, and I count on you as a person keeping his promises!
Y., my Friend! Be safe! I wanna hug you again!
Y., my Friend! We are so proud of you…