Ruth Abraham

If I tidy my bed in the morning, pull the bottom sheet taut and then make sure that the comforters inside the covers are not bunched in the corners.

If I fluff up the pillows and check that they are both the same distance from the edge of the bed and I place my book on my side of the bed, just below the well-aligned pillows, so that it seems I have just skipped away for a moment and will soon be back to take it up in my hands again. Of course the reading glasses are on top of the book so that it looks as though they are waiting for me to return them to my nose.

And if the velvety maroon blanket is drawn over the lower half of the bed, straight and neat, both sides parallel to the floor on either side.

If my pink cotton nightgown that picks up the pale flowery swirls on the duvet is draped casually at the bottom of the bed. As though by mistake. And I stand back and say yes, that looks just like the magazines.

Then here, inside my house, neat and dusted and swept, no threatening news will come to me, no unexpected unpleasant phone call will change my life. If I venture out I will have a peaceful place to come back to at night. I will crawl into the smooth parallel lines and sigh.

And if I find a vase that is just the right height, a glass vase, somewhat bottle-shaped, slanting inwards toward the opening.

If I arrange my five pink peonies that cost seven shekels each. “Far too much and why not buy a larger bunch of the cheap white carnations?” I asked myself. “No thank you very much,” I replied. “It’s the beautiful peonies I want.”

If I put them into the vase, though they are tightly closed in their buds, they will unfurl within a day. The room will fill with that familiar scent, sweet and bordering on overwhelming. Maybe even nauseating.

If I put that vase on the desk next to my computer, in my office, by the window which is spotted with sand that has turned into tiny splatters after the winter rains. Then I will see the sun, freshly arrived after days of cross black clouds swollen with water and sleet and sometimes hail. Its rays shining through the speckled window and bursting into the room like an unannounced guest saying, “I’m here,” arms thrown out wide. And I will fall in love with the day.

Maybe then this fear and doughy ennui will lift.


Ruth Abraham is a practicing art therapist, author of When Words Have Lost Their Meaning (Greenwood Publications, 2005). She is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at Bar-Ilan. Ruth’s work appeared in the first edition of Ilanot. Her story Preparations was shortlisted in the Glimmer Train Short Story competition. She lives in Israel and is currently at work on a novel.

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