Good Luck Lychee

The heat was intense at the Shuk today, the noises and smells even more so. I pushed my way through the masses of sweaty, swarthy people yelling in indecipherable tones at indistinguishable decibels and was reminded of how much I dislike large crowds. Even so, good things happened. I was buying mangos and avocados while the Arab vendor complimented me on my son, “aize chamud — how cute — a boy or a girl?” He told me he had 14 children, including four sets of twins. How he had prayed and prayed for a daughter but waited until his 13th child to have a girl. He handed me my change, along with a single lychee. Enjoy it, he said, and have a beautiful day. A good luck lychee, I thought to myself, and put it into my purse so that it wouldn’t get mixed up with my other purchases.

I finished up and started walking back towards Nachlaot where my car was parked. I was hungry and stopped at a chumusia. I asked for falafel, but the vendor refused — not before you taste it! He insisted. Grabbing a single fresh falafel ball out of boiling oil, he dipped it in techina and handed it to me. I nibbled and confirmed my interest in falafel. I asked if he had any carrot juice. Instead of answering, he yelled at a boy sitting on the edge of the pavement, handed him ten shekels, and ordered him to go buy me a carrot juice. No, no, I protested, it isn’t so important. He insisted on sending the boy off for my drink. I waited in the hot sun, eating falafel, while my baby slept gently on my chest, for a stranger to bring me carrot juice.


Adina Kopinsky

Posted by Adina Kopinsky

Adina Kopinsky lives in Efrat, mothers three young sons, and writes personal essays and poems when she should be sleeping.

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