Saturday, October 22, 2011

gelosia ,קנאה

It is a strange sensation to feel torn between two countries, languages, cultures, as between two men, two lovers.  I sit in an Israeli restaurant, Hebrew spoken all around me and Israeli musicians on the radio, songs I know well, singers I've even met.  The smells of warm pita, shakshuka, frying schnitzel, these surround me and I bask in them as in the embrace of an old friend, but feel all the while that I am cheating on my new love, that the Italian textbook in the bag at my feet is watching jealously with dark eyes, listening in to see if I will go so far as to speak Hebrew with the waitress, when I have already stooped so low as to enter this place, to accept the comfortable squeeze of the familiar sounds and smells and tastes here.  I am one block and thirty minutes away from Italian class, and perhaps later I'll watch a Roman movie with subtitles, trying to catch and match what words I can... but for the moment my heart is torn, I'm reading a book translated from the Portuguese and half-wishing I were still reading last week's novel, the David Grossman meditation on war and life in the Jewish homeland.  Torn, between countries, as between lovers, cheating on a language by thinking in another.  A strange sensation.

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