…and with those words, Elie tossed the car keeps up into the air. They flew from his hands, standing down in the street below our house, up to me…standing on the balcony overlooking the sidewalk. I’d gone out to see him leave, to tell him to be careful.
Amazingly enough, I caught them, one flight up, as I watched Elie close the emergency medic vest, already running behind the ambulance that had just pulled up in front of our house, and jump into the front seat.
He’s off on a call to go…I don’t know where…to help…I don’t know who.
Elie told me earlier that a neighbor, who is the ambulance driver tonight, needs backup and so Elie had agreed to be on call.
“But you are going back to the army tomorrow?” I had said. I didn’t really expect him to cancel, but felt I had to remind him, “What if there are a lot of calls and you don’t get much rest?”
“Then I’ll go back to the army tired,” he answered.
As it turns out, that won’t happen. Elie hadn’t been home in 21 days and so, when he and his unit were finally released this weekend, they asked if it was possible to return to base on Monday, rather than the usual Sunday.
It took a while for the permission to make its way up through the ranks to get approval, but finally, about 30 minutes ago, he got the word. He doesn’t have to go back tomorrow…so, if he is out late or often tonight…he’ll be able to rest tomorrow.
“Ima, catch,” he called out as he threw me the keys to the car. He’d gone out earlier to buy himself all the kinds of food that prove he’s still young. He came back, obviously leaving the keys in his pants, and packed his uniforms, socks, and undershirts. He packed food to take to the new base.
And now he’s off somewhere…and I’m going to bed, a little unsettled for having him out. I like to know when everyone is home – at least those I expect to sleep in the house here. My daughter is back in her apartment; Shmulik is sleeping in his dorm tonight…and Elie and the two younger ones will sleep here.
And now I know that tomorrow and tomorrow night too, Elie will be home…one more day, one more night…and still – it is one day at a time, so this day, I’ll cherish his being home.