May 06

Waiting for Broza
by Irene de la Torre
p. 3 of 3

Eyal lit the joint and took the first puff. Immediately, he started coughing.

"Take it easy, man," Ori said.

Eyal laughed and passed the joint to Ori. Ori held the joint between his index finger and thumb, and passed it to Sara without dragging on it.

"We met in Masada," he said. "Last year."

"Thanks." She held the lit joint between her thumb and her index finger. The smell of the sweet burning weed filled her nose, and she placed it between her lips. The rolled paper felt smooth there. She took a swift drag, and felt her body immediately relax.


She passed the joint to Ori, and fell back against the soft couch. He took the joint from her and she felt his hand brushing against her own, smooth and warm.

"Damn," Eyal said, "This is powerful stuff." The joint was back between his fingers and he took another deep drag.

"Only the best America has to offer." Ori said with a smile.

"None of that B stuff they have in Israel," Sara heard herself say, and her body felt light in her skin, and the words floated out of her mouth, on their own.

Everybody burst into laughter.

"Here." Ori passed her the joint.

"I should really watch it," Sara said. "I get stoned easily." Eyal and Ori were laughing again, and she laughed too. She took another drag and held the smoke in her lunges for a moment. Then everything went into slow motion. The room filled with the soft sounds of David Broza, and all of a sudden she was on Masada, with a thousand young Israelis, watching the sunrise, while Broza played his guitar feverishly and yelled, "Good morning Masada!"

"Good morning!" Sara yelled back.

She saw Eyal laughing hysterically, turning into a ball next to her. Ori was still on the floor, close to her, sitting with his legs crossed. His eyes looked like two clear pools.

"Man, she's stoned," she heard Eyal's voice coming from a distance.

"It's cool," she heard Ori say.

She wanted to say something, to yell, tell Eyal to shut up, but she couldn't bring herself to care that much. She was watching the red ball rise over the ancient ruins, and joining the others in the Hebrew song. She felt two strong arms wrapped around her, and when she looked up, she saw Ori's blue eyes, and his face was very close to hers, so close that she could feel his breath on her cheek.

"I'm getting hungry," she heard Eyal said.

Why would he be hungry? She wondered. It must have been close to midnight. "I'm going to search for food." She thought she heard him say.

Suddenly Eyal was standing by the kitchen. How did he get there? How long had he been standing there? How long had she been in this apartment? Sara thought she saw him winking at Ori. After that, she though she saw Ori shaking his head slightly. But she didn’t care. She was in Masada.

Then it was over. She looked around and she was back in the small living room. She didn't know how long she had been out there, in Israel, at the concert, but it felt like hours. Now, she was sitting on the soft, Bedouin carpet, her legs stretched out and she was leaning against the couch. She looked up and there was Ori, above her, as if guarding her, sitting so close. The music had stopped, and Sara looked around.

"Hey, are you okay?" Ori's voice caressed her.

"I'm really stoned." Her head was a balloon, floating, detached, while her body was heavy, sinking into the ground.

"Do you feel sick?"

She shook her head, afraid that if she opened her mouth, she would throw up, right there, on Ori's lap.

"Come, I'll take you to the bathroom." His eyes were clear and focused when he looked at her, and she wondered how he could remain in such control after smoking so much pot.

"No, stay here." She grasped his hand. "Until it passes."

She didn't care where Eyal was, or that he had come to stay with her and she was spending all this time with his friend. All she wanted to do was look into Ori’s eyes.

"Just take a few deep breaths," Ori said.

She leaned into him, and let her face rest on his chest. His faded cotton T-shirt felt smooth against her cheek. He smelled sweet and clean, like honey and lemon and soap all mixed up. Then the music was there again.

It was David Broza. She heard a base, constant and rhythmic. But maybe it was Ori's heart instead. Broza's voice was deep, like a well, sweet and tortured. He sang about a man who writes love-letters to his wife, to bring passion back to their marriage. But he doesn’t tell her they are from him, and the woman thinks she has a lover.

Sara closed her eyes and saw Broza closing his, stroking every string individually, his fingers moving fast, fluttering above them, accentuating every note. She lifted her face, and saw Ori's eyes, bright and blue and deep like the water in the Red Sea on a hot summer day. He was looking down on her. She felt his breath, warm and moist, against her face. He wants to kiss me, she thought, and her skin tingled.

"Come here." She suddenly heard Eyal's voice like an echo from a faraway canyon. She turned around and saw him, sitting right above her on the couch. How long had he been sitting there? "You are one stoned chick."

"No, I'm not." Her voice sounded like a raspy whisper.

He brushed her face with his fingers again. This time they felt cold.

"Sara,” Eyal said. “How about you, me and Ori…”

"What? No, man, this is not a good time." Ori stood up.

"Ah…he's shy." Eyal said.

"What?" Sara felt her stomach tighten. "What are you talking about?"

"Ori asked me, before we came, if you would be into a having a threesome."

Sara felt like she was going to throw up. Something was wrong. Eyal was asking her something. He was gesturing with his hands and he had a weird smile on his face.

"You always said you wanted to try it," Eyal said.

She felt cold all over. The words Eyal had said floated above his shaggy hair, like words in a comic book. “Threesome,” it said, and “Sex.”

She looked at Ori. He stood with his hands in his pockets studying the colorful Bedouin carpet. She felt a sharp hollow pain at the pit of her stomach.

"Fuck you,” the words came out of her mouth, as she looked at Eyal. Then she started to shake.

"She must have had a bad reaction to the pot." Ori said.

Sara's throat felt bone dry. Eyal leaned over her and kissed her, his lips scaly and dry.

Suddenly she felt an urge to throw up. "I need to go to the bathroom," she said.

Before Eyal could say anything, Ori was on his feet holding onto Sara's elbow. He walked slowly, guiding her.

"Do you want me to stay with you?" Ori asked as they entered the bathroom. "No." Her voice sounded cold and stark like the bathroom walls.

"Sara, I'm sorry," he said. "It was Eyal's idea, not mine." His blue eyes now looked watery and bland.

"It doesn't matter." She turned around and kneeled before the toilet.

"Go!" she managed to say before a stream of warm and bitter vomit spewed out of her mouth. She heard the door shut and then the room went black.

When she came to herself, Sara was laying next to the toilet bowl. Her cheek was pressed against the cold hard tiles. She opened her eyes and saw the little black grates, under her, like pencil drawn shapes on white paper. She felt tears well up her eyes and run down the corner of her mouth, tasted their saltiness as they mixed with the acrid flavor of vomit.

"Sara." She heard a sandy voice above her head. It was Eyal. "Come on, I'll help you."

He placed his hands under her armpits, and pulled her up like a Raggedy-Anne doll.

She rose to her knees and looked into his face. His eyes were bloodshot and his lips looked blurred. This wasn't the face of the handsome guy who she had met in Masada four years ago.

"I can do it myself." She shook his hands away in disgust, as though they were contagious.

She stood up and supported her weight against the cold sink with her hands. Sara saw her own image in the mirror. Her face was flushed and her hair, a deep brown, looked almost red, tousled, giving her a strange wild quality, primal and vital. Her eyes, still glazed from the pot, gave her a fierce look. She turned on the cold water and let it run slowly over her hands, feeling each and every cool molecule. She cupped her hands, filled them with water, and splashed her face. The shock of the water made her see everything clearly, her face, her big brown eyes, the pink T-shirt she was wearing, and her protruding collar bone. She felt more focused and alive than she had felt in a long time.

Sara looked down. Eyal was sitting on the floor, looking up at her like a confused little boy. She noticed how short he really was, how small. She walked towards the door.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going home."

It surprised her to hear herself so calm and resolved.

"What do you mean going home, what about us?"

"There is no 'us'," she said, working her hair with her fingers. "Even when we were together there was never an 'us’.”

"What about Masada?"

"Well…" Sara said, "We'll always have Masada." She smiled to herself and walked out.

"Sara, wait."

He followed her to the living room. Ori was passed out on the couch. From the corner of her eye, she could see his black curls covering his eyelids. He was no David Broza.

"We had plans. I was going to stay with you in Connecticut."

"Connecticut is not for you," she said and started looking for her pocket book. "And besides, it's much easier to find threesomes here."

She grasped her pocketbook, pushed her shoulders back and looked at Eyal one more time. His shirt was wrinkled and his hair looked tousled and crazy.

"Lehitraot.” She turned to go. Suddenly, she stopped abruptly before the door. She turned around and marched towards the stereo, pressed the eject button and there it was, her new Broza CD, spat from the system as though it too wanted to flee the apartment. She quickly located the maroon and brown colors of the sunrise at Masada, put the CD into it, and closed it with a click. She stuck it in her purse, and walked towards Eyal.

"And I'm taking my Broza with me."

Sara opened the large brown door, and once outside, she exhaled. She skipped down the five flights of stairs and stepped outside into the warm night air. The moon glistened over midtown Manhattan, giving the tall, metallic buildings a silvery glow.

It isn't Masada, she thought to herself, but for now, it'll do. She got in her car, popped in her Broza and turned the volume all the way up.



Images: Mindy Stricke

Irene De La Torre was born in Mexico City and grew up in Israel. During her Military Service, she served as an MP. Irene graduated with a BA in English from SCSU. She also holds a Masters degree in English Education from Columbia Teachers college. She is honored to have her first publication appear in Zeek.
Mindy Stricke studied photography at the International Center of Photography in New York City, and has shown her photographs nationally. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Time Out NY, and Newsweek, among others.

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