My Story: Parting company

She sat at the round table in the kitchen, the mug of coffee cradled in her hands.

parting company 88 224 (photo credit: )
parting company 88 224
(photo credit: )
She sat at the round table in the kitchen, the mug of coffee cradled in her hands. She looked at the window in the opposite wall, and thought what an integral part of her life it had been. It was a large window, with a pointed arch. The lower rectangular section was made up of two panes which opened inward, as did the upper arched section made of rippled glass, which was divided up by a wooden frame with a beautiful little round blue glass in each center, an old-fashioned bull's-eye. A beautiful Arab-styled window in a beautiful spacious Arab apartment, built in 1926, in what had once been the Christian Arab section of Jerusalem, Talbieh. Wooden shutters in matching shape completed the character of the windows, but because they were outside, had proved at times to be rather inconvenient, especially when it was raining. She had spent 50 years of her life in this apartment, had raised their four children there, and now, some five years after her husband had passed away, she had decided that she must move away. She had taken the color-scheme of the kitchen from the two little blue windows - blue-painted cupboards and pale turquoise walls. She liked the idea of the protection against the "evil eye," but they were also "her" colors, which she had always found soothing. Although the other rooms had undergone color changes over the years, the kitchen had always remained the same. When one of her friends had referred to it recently as "your blue kitchen"' she was surprised, so used to it had she become. However beautiful the window was though, it was only the frame for the view outside, a view of the Old City and the surrounding hills. One could see the walls of the Old City, the Tower of David, the Dormition Church, the tower of Augusta Victoria Hospital, the Hebrew University tower, countless rooftops with small domes and television aerials. On a very clear day, when the air could be absolutely crystalline, one could even get a glimpse the Dead Sea and the hills of Moab beyond. At night, besides the illumination of the Old City, one could see clusters of lights here and there in the background, proof that there were really people living "over there" in their villages. After the Intercontinental Hotel was built on the Mount of Olives, its lights became a focus of attention and wonder, and little did they dream then that one day, in the aftermath of the 1967 war, they would be going there for lunch or dinner as a matter of course. The clear dry air was also efficient in conveying the sounds of the Old City; the pealing of the church bells, the muezzin calling the Muslims to prayer five times a day. She had noted once that if you could hear the muezzin during the night, it meant that conditions were right for a hamsin the next day. And so the view from the window kept her company through the days and the years, constantly changing with the moving sun and the flow of the seasons, always there. Her favorite scene was actually a winter one, when the sky could sometimes be a dark, threatening, leaden gray, and a sudden trick of the setting sun would infuse the old walls and buildings with a strange luminous light so that the stones seemed to glow with a heavenly light against the dark sky. It was breathtaking in its dramatic ethereal beauty, spellbinding. Truly Jerusalem of Gold. She had even tried a few times to photograph the scene, but never succeeded in getting an adequate result. Apparently neither she nor the camera was good enough for the job, though she had at times taken wonderful photos with her simple "idiot" camera, but she knew that the scene was engraved in her memory, one of her cherished possessions. But that was all in the past. Now when she looked through the window there was no Old City, no mountains, no spiritual comfort or inspiration. Now she saw a concrete wall rising daily before her eyes, the rear of a huge apartment block imposing itself in the name of "modern progress" on the old picturesque residential suburb. The building would eventually be covered with the familiar Jerusalem stone, but that would not restore the space and the beauty which had been there before. This was one of the reasons which had lead to her decision to close down her home, and which had softened the sadness of saying farewell to the most important chapter of her life.