Dizingoff/Gordon

June 1998. The first, or was it the third Friday night? (Once I knew.) Heading home to Frishman/Sirkin, I walk south on the east side of Dizingoff. A man passes me. We both look back at precisely the same time. Not turning to pillars of salt, he crosses the street. I follow. He looks in a store window. I look in one too. Gazith. As if our desire is something that can be bought or tried on like a pair of shoes. Nervously, I walk past him, then stop on the corner of Gordon and turn around. “Mah shlomcha?” “How are you?” he asks. I mishear the question as “Mah shimcha?” and answer with my name, revealing in an instant that I was born in another land. Six months later, I made aliyah to Israel and to him, thinking that had I done any one thing differently in my life – had I stopped – or not stopped to tie my shoelaces in the third grade – we wouldn’t have been on that street corner in Tel Aviv at the same time. Maybe we had passed each other a hundred times before. Or maybe I would have met someone else a block further south. But for the years that followed (and even walking past that junction today), the corners of my heart were filled.

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