Brother in Front of Brother

You know how sometimes images get to you? How you can see it and feel that there is a symbolism so much greater than the moment…or maybe not. I don’t know.

I got a call from Lauren late this afternoon. She was on her way home and was checking to see what my plans were. I didn’t really have any. Most of my important work was done. I could go home or do more. It was one of those rare times when I have things to do but nothing pressing. She said she’d spoken to Elie and he had warned her that the Arabs were rioting at the entrance to our city.

Most of the buses go through the “old” entrance that was the main entrance until a few weeks ago when they quietly opened up a new one. Both are now heavily trafficked, saving motorists on both roads. I called Elie to see if he knew any more and he also warned me against the main entrance, directing me to the new one. He told me even the main one was clear, but they were expecting more trouble. I arranged to meet Lauren, so she wouldn’t be on a bus. It was really just as easy to work from home.

I called Shmulik to see if he knew any more details as I packed my computer and shut down for the day. He told me the Arabs had approached the city from Azzaria, the Arab neighborhood to the left as you exit the city. They approached the guards and started pelting them, cars, and anything they could with rocks. Police were there, ambulances and emergency vehicles. “Take the new road, Ima,” he also told me.

He explained, in more detail, what happened inside the city and as he spoke, the image began to form. The guards with guns were shuffled around to the main areas to protect the mall where my sons are security guards. Elie was stationed at Aroma, where Shmulik had been. Yoel, another friend, was moved to the main gate. Shmulik was positioned in front of Elie, further towards the front of the city.

That picture – of the two of them there stabs me in the heart. Silly, really. The threat was outside the city – about three blocks away from the mall – light years when it comes to getting past the armed guards at the front of the city.

Truly and without question, they were never in danger and yet I’ll imagine that moment, of Elie guarding the restaurant entrance, of him having his back to the mall entrance, of Shmulik being further away from the mall, taking a position in front of Elie. I’ll see that in my sleep, I think – of brother guarding brother; each covering the other and countless shoppers in the mall who likely knew nothing of the drama taking place in the front of the city – or of the two brothers standing guard.

No threat. Not really. Why doesn’t that lessen the image in my mind?

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