A Surprising Bus Ride…

I love that this country is small, small enough that you know so many…small enough that you are often surprised at how common it is to meet someone you weren’t expecting. Shmulik went to the army clinic today about his migraines. The doctor diagnosed him with…migraines. Good call there.

The doctor gave him some medication and told him to go back to base and speak to his commanders. We’ll see in the future what this means. He came back to Jerusalem and had about 4 hours until he had to meet the bus going to his base. Once again, we agreed I would drive him out of Jerusalem and we’d meet the bus on the road to the Dead Sea. It meant a little more time together, a little less time on the bus.

The bus pulled up and as I watched Shmulik board the bus, I glanced at the other passengers…all soldiers. I waved goodbye, went to my car, and began to drive the last 10 minutes home.

The phone rang. “Shmulik” said the display. I thought in that second of the blog post I had written about sinking or swimming. I wondered if he had forgotten something in the car. I answered the phone, dreading what he was going to say and trying to figure out if I had to now drive him to somewhere and take him off the bus, solve the problem and drive him to base.

“Hi. Everything okay?” I answered the phone.

“Fine,” was the answer…only it wasn’t Shmulik. It was Chaim! He hadn’t been feeling well and so after the weekend, his commander gave him a day to rest, but insisted that he return to base on the 6:00 bus. He got on in Jerusalem…Shmulik got on the same bus near our home.

It was great to hear Chaim’s voice, great to know they would have this next two hours drive together to talk and laugh together. I can’t explain why it made me so happy to think of them on the bus.

It reminded me of a last year, right before Rosh Hashana – when Shmulik and his yeshiva went late at night to the Western Wall, the Kotel, for special prayers and saw that there were many soldiers from artillery. He looked around, and there was Elie. The two brothers came together there at the place that is most holy to our religion. I can picture them there in my mind, the greeting they shared.

And today, two other brothers, of heart but not blood, came together on their way back to base. It is so Israel, this greeting.

1 Comment

  1. My elder daughter did her army service on a base in Jerusalem. At some stage, my younger son was the deputy logistics officer of the Combat Engineering school, somewhere near Eilat. As an officer, he was entitled to free flights home (now you know where your tax shekels go). The bus from Jerusalem to Ra’anana Junction goes through Ben Gurion airport. They managed to meet up quite often on their way home on Thursday evenings. And of course they would phone home from the “wrong” phone, just for the fun of confusing their parents 🙂

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