M. and H. are my neighbors.
I first met M. 4 years ago, when I came to inspect the apartment (I had just bought, R.S.). She already took hers over from the contractor but in reality, lived in a construction site. We met in the parking lot. After she introduced herself, she invited me for coffee. I came over the following day. Her apartment was fully equipped, with new furnishings, all in their rightful places.
"My kids pressured me to leave Jerusalem," she said in a Persian accent, "because I was all alone after my husband died. I didn't want to move, so they took it on themselves to find this apartment for me. It's hard for me to get used to it, as I don't know anyone. I miss my friends, and especially the activities that fulfilled me. I had a subscription to the Jerusalem Theater, and enjoyed the plays very much. Maybe we can take out a subscription together?" she suggested.
"Sure," I answered without much thought, "why not."
Thus started the "relationship" between us, which resulted in a subscription that lasted 2 years. The deal was that I would drive and support her while walking, and she would brings candy for intermission.
Until I got sick.
I met H. through M. It so happened that H. bought the apartment adjacent to M.'s. She's a widow, of Iraqi origin, and she too has wonderful children. They're both the same age (70+), same hight, same stature, and complete each other's sentences. They're never apart. Be it to the market, the theater, or a walk, they're always together. That's why I call then "the twins".
M. wants to come for a visit.
"OK" I nod to Roji.
They both arrive with a box of Persian rice. They always bring something.
"Hi Shosh'ke, how are you?" they ask and kiss me. "You are beautiful," M. says. "She was always a beautiful woman," says H.
"Ay yay, what cruel fate," both say, "and for her of all people! Ay yay."
"And what is this instrument?" M. asks. "It wasn't here before."
"It's a feeding machine," answers Roji.
They put their heads together. "The muscles are atrophying," H. whispers, "so she can't eat."
"Ay yay yay" both say. "What can you do? It's fate. Be strong, Shosh'ke."
"I remember how she drove me to the theater, and how much she like the hot pretzel we had after the show. And I remember when she bought sofas," says M. "Ay yay yay, she doesn't deserve this! Such a good woman! Take care of her, girls (the 2 caregivers - R.S.), like you would care for a diamond!"
"When will you visit us?"
"I'll come," I promise.
And we part with hugs and kisses.
Translated by: Rina Shapira
Original Hebrew post on 6-11-08 10. "התאומות"