Thursday, January 18, 2007

Green Eyes

I knew Sarah Popper when we were teenagers in summer camp, and I’m sorry to say that at the time, we did not get along well at all. But even then, I noticed her eyes—a beautiful shade of green that she accentuated with black eye liner for dramatic effect.

I don’t remember what we quarrelled about back then. It was nothing more than simple teenage foolishness, and I was as much to blame as she was.

But all that was mercifully forgotten more than ten years later, when we met at Ulpan Etzion as new immigrants. We chatted outside the main building as though nothing had happened. Now we were older, more mature, trying to find our places as new immigrants in Israel.

We did not become close, and as time went on our paths diverged even more. I was shocked some years later when I found out whom Sarah had married. But she was an adult, with the right to make her own choices.

We ran into each other several times after that. Once I saw her handing out flyers at an outdoor concert. Another time, about thirteen years ago, I saw her pushing a stroller in the Old City, her striking blond hair covered by a snood. We talked about a book I had passed on to her some years earlier and shared some memories about our summer camp. I think that was the last time I saw her.

Over the past several days, I found myself thinking about Sarah without knowing why. After all, we had not seen each other in such a long time. This evening, as I was passing by a store downtown, I glanced at the newspaper headlines, and a small item at the bottom of the front page of one of the Hebrew dailies jumped out at me: Wife and son of Ami Popper killed in car accident.

And all I could think of were Sarah’s beautiful green eyes.

She was 42. Her son, Shimshon, was six years old.

I’m so sorry, Sarah. Rest in peace.

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