I’m out of the game
I don’t know the people
In your picture frame
If I ever loved you or no, no
It’s a crying shame if I ever loved you
If I knew your name
You don’t need a lawyer
I’m not making a claim
You don’t need to surrender
I’m not taking aim
I don’t need a lover, no, no
The wretched beast is tame
I don’t need a lover
So blow out the flame
There’s nobody missing
There is no reward
Little by little
We’re cutting the cord
We’re spending the treasure, oh, no, no
That love cannot afford
I know you can feel it
The sweetness restored
I don’t need a reason
For what I became
I’ve got these excuses
They’re tired and lame
I don’t need a pardon, no, no, no, no, no
There’s no one left to blame
I’m leaving the table
I’m out of the game
I’m leaving the table
I’m out of the game
“there’s nobody missing
there is no reward
little by little
we are cutting the cord ..”
where would i be
without your gentle
leading me to the zen
i’m leaving the table
and i have never been
in the game
but i am leaving
just the same .
“Where are you ?” asked my brother on the long distance phone call,
“I am on a bus”, i said, and i was.
“Our mother is dead” , he said, and i did not know where to collapse.
I saw religious jew, a guy with a beard and a hat, and i asked him whether i could
talk to him..i felt i was going to faint..i later went to my Jewish psychiatrist
it was just the time of our weekly appointment and he told me what to do,
he is a son of a rabbi, “you got to get to Israel as soon as possible, they do not wait
to bury”, he advised and he told me not to take my 12 year old daughter..
I went to the Jewish school, “my mother died”, i told a religious teacher
who is somehow related to me but afraid someone will find out and hurt her
chances of match making her children and she had many.
“May you be comforted in Jerusalem ” , she muttered the standard words, and i wanted
to scream, this is not a standard but then i realised she could only do standard,
she could only fit into the frame..
My Dutch mother in law called and heard my son crying, she asked “why is he crying?”
she always did have her special wood like sensitivity to pain, “his grandmother died”, i
answered her but anything i would say would be interpreted as over dramatizing .
The next 48 hours were like a nightmare, i stopped at a shop in the airport to buy
gifts for the family; Swiss chocolate, swiss souvenirs, things with a cute cow and a bell
and a friendly cross..i flew upon the wings of denial and when i got to Israel
there was no one waiting for me, people stood with balloons cheering for loved ones,
and this should have been the clue, no one loves you..my brother arrived angry
there was no hugging, he was without his usual aggressive scruff, and i did not know then i was already homeless, the apartment where i grew up and was the last to leave full of my books and university papers would disappear and he would dump all my studies in a sort of fire that burned the jewish books in Germany at one point.
I arrived Thursday afternoon, our mother died Wednesday morning during an open
heart operation which i was not told about..family secrets were a speciality of our
dysfunctional family, and i guess no one thought to tell me my mother was dying
or about to die..so i was not able to say goodbye..
it occurs to me now that this insensitivity is partly due to being stupid and not spiritually oriented or heart centered, blocked by too many wars and too many dead people on memorial days and holocaust memorials, Israelis become desensitised ,i reasoned, but i knew this was a lie, that it was our family’s particular inability to relate emotionally without any excuse, the Russian -Ukranian side was even less sensitive and they did not undergo major world wars..who knows why my family had inability to show affection, caring or say something nice and supportive but i always found more comfort in abandoned street animals than in the company of my family which was too often forced upon me dictating to me their rules..money money money
We had to postpone the funeral till my sister arrived, she came , her tight shirt looked as thought she just woke up , she flew in from Toronto, Canada, it was the first time i had seen her in 17 years! She never saw my children , she never came to visit and i was too busy to fly to Canada, where i would visit every year when i was single playing her marital counsellor, listening to her complain about husband number two and playing with her daughters while she moves from house to house, buying and selling , selling and buying..
My brother unloaded my sister and i like cows cargo to my mother’s apartment where we were supposed to spend the next week according to the Jewish tradition while he got to go back home to his wife, according to their personal interpretation of the rules, we were stuck together , my sister said she thought she had heard our mother speak, and feel her presence, apparently she forgot to pack her psychiatric medication and had withdrawn symptoms; she was vomiting and i rushed to the pharmacy to get her medication..meanwhile our aunt took over, she sat at our mother’s computer and constantly asked how to send emails..offering no emotional support even though she was a school counsellor, there was no talk about emotions and a constant flow of my brother’s colleagues from work; dark men mostly who worked in the electricity company, and we were to offer them food according to my sister in law’s commends.
Two friends of mine came to offer comfort, Yossi a tall bespectacled phD who studied psychology with me and was now focusing on coaching and technical education systems, he mostly listened and nodded his head with a confused shy smile i knew from the hours we spent together talking in the past. My mother friend whom my mother called “fat carmela”, arrived sharing the horrible news of the death of her brother, describing how he was found dead in front of his t.v. after she had called the fire department to break in his apartment ..i listened to the details thinking that the cause of death was probably his being extremely obese but that was the way my mother used to think, “a woman could not be too thin or too rich”, she preached being thin, and indeed was most probably the cause of my eating disorder..
After four days of welcoming strange men from the Israeli electricity company , i escaped to the ocean where i sat crying at the promenade avoiding being bothered by the usual perverts who hung around with their bicycles seeking easy prey..finally a couple took pity on me and invited me for a cup of coffee in Dizengeoff street, the loud busy street offered a good distraction, the man shared stories of lousy family feud over inheritance and this was probably my cushion for i was about to have a great fall when i would discover that my mother changed the will at the last minute and i would be homeless, without a nest i kept returning to as a big adult bird who never managed to disconnect from the role of the baby bird..
Years later after the big dramatic scene at my mother’s apartment where my brother managed to bully me into taking almost nothing but my own paintings that my mother lovingly framed and told me that the man at the gallery said i showed promise , i disconnected from my siblings.. every now and then my children mentioned their cousins visiting a wedding in Canada, or travelling to Europe but there was no contact . It was a clean cut .
Watching families, especially my Dutch ex, i wonder what universal force had decided to place me with a deeply disturbed dysfunctional family that focused on material values as though there were the only things that mattered and made me a person that does not care for anything material except a cup of coffee in starbucks..
I returned to Israel with my children and alone but it is always with a sense of wonder, hearing “what a wonderful world”, as i see life from a completely different perspective, there is no mean comments urging me to attend mass barbecues with my sister in law’s North African relatives celebrating the massacre of cows in piles of steaks, there is no more my mother mixed messages of how much she loves me but wishes i was someone else . I left and i was never coming back.
Last night i made what can only be called a gruesome discovery on youtube when i found an oscar winning documentary on a multicultural school where my sister in law works as the head of the high school kids..she appears about five seconds in her usual dramatic manic smiling commending ways, a trained officer in the IDF, her fake functioning ways never changed..she was caring, she was understanding , she was taking the time to explain and i remembered how i tried to tell her i am having problems at home and she was just too busy washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen obsessively always making me feel like a lazy good for nothing …she would show up at my apartment and scrub the toilet and pronounce it a health hazard and would not let her children in, she would scrub her children after they had gone swimming with soap and not mind they were crying and maybe wanted to play more with their silly aunt in the water splashing about..
I thought about how my sister in law described my mother’s last hours, how she had washed her, and how ashamed she was at being cared for and i felt such a shame that i left everything , i did not take a lawyer, i let them have all the objects my mother had collected and thought about how i was not allowed to say goodbye, and how she took over, the way she took over everything but that was the law of the jungle, and i was not a tiger or a lion or anything with teeth , i was a stupid cow eating grass, like the swiss souvenirs.