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.

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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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