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"Now I can go off to Turkey without worrying," Einav says, her melodramatic sigh lost on her listener due to car-phone cackle and highway noise.
"Without worrying about what?" Aya asks, squinting, as though this will enable her to hear better while maneuvering the traffic - suddenly heavy enough to make her late to the concert in Tel Aviv.
"David," Einav answers almost indignantly, as if to indicate that if her friend had been paying the slightest bit of attention, she would have understood immediately that he was the focus of the conversation.
"Oh," Aya gasps slightly, racking her brain to remember whether she had been privy to some information about her friend's husband that she'd already forgotten. "Was he ill?"
"Nah," Einav laughs. "Bored."
"Back up a second," Aya says, now more confused than before. "Did I miss something?"
"What I meant to say was that he would have been bored," Einav explains, to her own satisfaction, if not to Aya's. "Which is why I wasn't feeling right about my trip."
"He's a big boy," Aya says, trying to sound reassuring, when she's really trying to concentrate on the road, which seems to be growing more congested by the minute.
"That's exactly what he is," Einav quips. "A big boy."
"Which is why you were worried about leaving him on his own," Aya says, to signal that she finally gets it.
"Precisely," Einav says, happy she can now continue her tale.
"And you thought he wouldn't be able to entertain himself without you," Aya adds, swerving suddenly to avoid a car that cut into her lane unexpectedly.
"Correct," Einav says, enunciating her consonants.
"Why aren't you home watching soccer with the rest of the baboons," Aya makes a foul gesture at the driver who nearly caused her to have an accident.
"That's what I'm trying to tell you," Einav says excitedly, with a hint of disappointment in her voice.
"What?" Aya asks. "What are you trying to tell me?"
"That I bought David the World Cup package, so he can watch the games while I'm away!" Einav exclaims.
"I DIDN'T know David was a sports fan," Aya says, the digital clock on the dashboard dashing her hopes of making it to her destination before midnight, or before having a nervous breakdown - whichever comes first. The latter seems more likely at this point, due to her real reason for schlepping out of the city at this hour to listen to music she doesn't particularly care for.
"That's the thing," Einav says, revving up for a gossip renewal. "I didn't either."
"How could you have been married to him for so long without knowing that?" Aya asks this as a question, though what she is really doing is taking a dig at her friend's marriage - an inadvertent tic she has developed along with the loud ticking of her biological clock.
"I'm not sure he knew it about himself, actually," Einav says, trying not to sound as irritated as she feels at the moment. And trying even harder not to respond by challenging this single woman's right to have an opinion about marital relations.
"Now, what is that supposed to mean?" Aya grunts sarcastically - another habit she has formed as a counter to what she considers psychobabble.
"David never expressed interest in soccer games before," Einav retorts testily. "And then I noticed this week that every time we were somewhere where there was a TV with the games on, he became glued to the screen."
"Personally, I don't see how anybody can possibly be riveted by that game," Aya says, wondering if she shouldn't just get off at the nearest exit and head back to Jerusalem. Considering there's almost no way that guy will still be at the club.
"David is most certainly not riveted by it," Einav says defensively.
"You're the one who said he's 'glued to the screen,'" Aya insists, exasperated, but not because of Einav or David or soccer. "And you're the one who bought him the World Cup package so he won't be bored when you're in Turkey."
"Well... yeah," Einav says, somewhat discouraged by the entire discourse. "But it's more complicated than that."
"How could a bunch of men kicking a stupid ball around a field be 'more complicated than that'?" Aya asks.
"I wasn't referring to the ball being kicked around," Einav says. "I was talking about David's attitude toward it."
"They hardly ever even make any goals," Aya continues her tirade as though it's a monologue. That's the whole essence of men - she thinks bitterly - isn't it? They just go running around all over the place, giving you the false impression that they're aiming to score. But all they're really engaged in is one-upmanship. All you are to them is a spectator.
"That's just what David says he doesn't like about the game," Einav says, seizing the opportunity to show Aya that she and David share the same view. Fear of her friends not liking her husband tends to do that to her.
"If he doesn't like it, why would he want to watch it?" Aya asks, as she reaches the exit ramp with her heart pounding slightly.
"For the same reason he went to see Farenheit 9/11," Einav asserts, though she's not sure it's the same thing at all. "To witness first-hand what all the carry-on is about."
"He should watch it in good health, then," Aya says, gearing herself up for the usual let-down.
"Amen," Einav agrees. "So I can go off to Turkey without worrying."
The two friends sign off as Aya pulls up to the nightclub and parks her car. She, like all the other women standing in line to pay the cashier, applies a coat of lipstick. The singer's voice bellows from the bowels of the establishment: "Small crowd here tonight, girls, 'cause all the boys are home drooling over the World Cup."
Aya groans. Now she'll never know why he didn't show up.
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