Wednesday, August 5, 2009


(Ze'ev - the ongoing saga (previous posts) of my friendship with a man whom some would call "homeless" - and he is...but to me Ze'ev is a man with a tragic story - and a friend from whom I learn about life)

Ze'ev is gone.

The last time I wrote about him was in March. We hadn't seen each other for quite a long time then and it was a sweet reunion. We were really glad to see one another...the day was warm after a long cold winter and Ze'ev and I were both glad for the warmth. I ran to buy him cigarettes, we talked of many things that day.

It was one of the last times I saw him. One day, Ze'ev just wasn't there anymore. He no longer sat in front of the super where I saw him on Friday's, or downtown, where I saw him during the week. I no longer ran into him on the streets of Jerusalem, backpack as large as himself - a tall but solitary figure.

At times I saw the raw emotions that accompany a man of the street; sometimes he shared them. Ze'ev wasn't well physically and such a life was taking it's toll.

At first I didn't worry. Perhaps he was sick and in the hospital. Perhaps the volatile life in the shelters had left him victimized or his own anger had led him into fights and he was in jail. But too much time began to go by...he just wasn't here any longer.

I don't know where Ze'ev went. Did he move to another city? I doubt it - he thought Tel Aviv was sooo hot in the summer. (and it is). Did he go back to the country from which he came? (Probably not) Did he win the lottery?

Did he die.....?

I miss him.

But...something strange has happened. Twice now, near the super where I saw Ze'ev on Fridays, a man has walked down the street, passing me in the opposite direction. He is a tall man, healthier looking than Ze'ev, but....he looks eerily just like him. I wouldn't think much about it except that both times this man looked at me in recognition, a twinkle in his eye and a smile as if he had a secret.

Perhaps I've been in the Jerusalem sun too long....or just in Jerusalem too long, but somehow I'd like to think that Ze'ev won the lottery and he no longer needs to beg on the street, that he is living life like a normal human being.

Perhaps, if I see this man again, I'll stop and ask him if he is Ze'ev. The funny thing is, when saw him this week and I turned around to take another look..... he wasn't there.....he had disappeared....

.....just like Ze'ev.

No comments:

Post a Comment