The fat girl always sat at the back,got lousy grades,next to Liora whose mustache was bleached yellow by her father,the Bagdad beautician who served Tel Aviv’s first famous transgender,a former soccer player who walked around the city public gardens with his/her miniature poodle.
she always watched her weight. Her mother told her nobody wants to date fat girls. she made sure to get good grades
she always sat up front with Lechner, a pale blond boy with long leggs like an albino rabbits who always whispered to her cynical criticsm of the high school teachers.He was the son of a famous book publising firm. she was the great grand daughter of a pioneer zionist hero.they mentioned him once in history lessons. she blushed.
It was he,Liora’s father,who had told her that only Jews from Bagdad ,Iraq,were real jews.
Her mother told her that King David ,the bible says,had red hair.She didn’t have red hair but found the answer satisfactory.
Anyway,her mother said,the Beautician from Bagdad wears eye make up ,what does he know about” real “anyway?
Liora lived in a two room apartment with her father ,her mother Dolores and younger brother Ben Zion who slept on the living room sofa.
Dolores was always dressed in 50’s style dresses and served a cold sour kfir with sliced bananas
dish that tasted delicious. Dolores like the meaning of her name was always sad looking as if she missed Bagdad .
Liora liked to help and so when she had problems in math in school, she offered her cousin,a thin young man with thick glasses who was studying accounting at the university,she had to take two buses to get to his apartment where he showed her how to solve mathemtical problems on long white computer print out pages at a time computers were just coming out.
When the class had to go to the air force base to help out,she got paired with fat C. whom her mother called fatsy.
Fatsy and her hit it off when they were assigned to count material in an ammunition storeage area well hidden so no one could hear them sing mocking a Morrocian singer who wrote songs about his village in the Atlas mountains.
Years later when she had brought her first boyfriend ,a young blond law student who waz actually born in the Atlas mountains , to meet fatsy ,she was surprised to see that first sign of green eyed monster,jealousy.
later much later when she got pregnant and told fatsy,she was again surprised to hear that fatsy did not want to meet,she avoided her till she left to marry the father of her baby.
When the baby had been born fatsy agreed to meet ,she brought a small ugly blue plastic box as a present and had coffee with her and her husband.
“he is childish”fatsy said though he paid for the coffee..
when her oldest child turned six ,she met fatsy again,when she came to visit her mother.
Fatsy just had a baby ,she said it was from a sperm bank donation.
She said something about what about the father in the baby’s life out of concern but Fatsy got angry and did not speak to her for the next six years.
when her daughter was 13 years old ,her mother passed away suddenly and Fatsy came to the Shiva,she told her that her beloved brother had died all of the sudden from heart failure,she described how he did not pick up the phone but she knew that he died because he was grotesquely obese,his wife who was also heavy,had left him and he suffered from depression because he could not see his children and had ate his heart ache away.
Fatsy didn’t say that much but she guessed having seen him leaning on a cane when they had gone to watch Harry Potter together.
she did not see Fatsy for another seven years during which time Fatsy had had another sperm bank donation child,a son she named Michael.
She met Fatsy’s parents,Bernard and Cecilia on the street by the municipality by chance.
She asked for Fatsy’s number and called running to see her,excited,Fatsy stood surrounded by loud children,her large arms exposed by a sleeveless dark blue shirt. Fatsy’s sperm bank children leaned on her,the green eyed daughter now 12 years old , staring at the stranger like the cheshire cat. The boy ,Michael,spoke in measured words calculating the weight of each syllabus carefully,he too was a son of computer man who had donated his sperm anonymously to Fatsy like the daughter’s anonymous father.
“I am going to drown Daniel in the swimming pool”he spoke with little emotion.He had the same freckled cheeks as Fatsy and her dark hair. Both children were of normal weight.
Fatsy said she was in a hurry to take the children to the country club. No simple beach for them.
Later while swimming in the ocean riding the waves she thought about what Fatsy missed,there were three American boys of various ages from Washington D.C. jumping in the waves ,the mother came to collect them,they were there to celebrate a bar mitzva in the Golan Heights for the youngest boy.
The mother later gave her a delicate but warm hug as they parted after having spoken about yoga and meditation in the waves.
The husband/father came in the ocean too ,in order to remind the family about dinner they would be having soon at the hotel.
The husband was large and heavy had a pleasant freckled face.
His own father was born in Germany and managed to leave just before the war,the wife explained.
The grandfather waved from the beach towards his swimming family ,he was in a hurry to eat and sleep soon,their flight was in the morning.
she thought of Fatsy and the American family as she washed the sand off in the cold outdoor water shower on the beach.
Night fell as the European soccer matches began to scream on a large screen on the beach.
she turned around and looked at the sun disappearing in the sea.
she was born fifteen minutes from this beach and now she came back and she could not say why.
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