This post is about what happened to me this past weekend. It’s also about much more than that.
We were visited by a lovely Canadian couple. They stayed with us, ate and talked. We showed them some of the sites of Jerusalem: the Old City market, the Western Wall, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Machane Yehuda market, the city centre and other neighbourhoods. The visit ended with an impressive light show projected onto the city walls. Then they left us to visit other parts of the country before returning home to Canada. The end?
Not at all, because I left out the beginning of this story. Two eleven-year-old girls became friends at school out of convenience, and somehow that friendship grew to include visits outside school. One of those girls was considerably less popular than the other and so glad of the friendship that provided protection from the harsh treatment she’d endured from other girls.
That friendship ended without warning just a year after it began. The popular girl’s mother secretly took her daughter off to live in Canada. The other girl was left to flounder, suddenly vulnerable and exposed to bullying from all directions.
The girl who remained was me. The one who left was the woman who came to stay last weekend, over fifty-one years later. We met briefly four years ago, but this was the first chance we had to talk together.
‘Weird’ was a feeling we both agreed on. I could be talking to her as friends do, when I’d suddenly remember she was that twelve-year-old girl who deserted me. And while I knew that what happened back then was in no way her fault, I appreciated her apologies. Her leaving led to six difficult years that determined the person I was to become, and none of it was her fault.
I’m so glad we met up again. And I might even have a chance to visit Canada.