One of the ways B. got me to pack up my life and move to the other side of the world – losing all contact with Sephora.com, Barnes and Noble, and traffic laws that actually make sense – was the promise of a weekly date night.
“It’ll be fine,” he had said. “My mom can watch the kids while they sleep, or we can always hire a baby sitter.”
So, with images of a quickie in the corn fields a nice romantic dinner flitting through my mind, I waved shalom to my dad, my stepmom, my father-in-law, and a handful of close friends and boarded the plane from LAX to TLV.
Since landing six weeks ago, we’ve been out a grand total of (wait for it, wait for it)…
And that hour and a half out was spent catching g up on some much needed sleep and sitting on the sidelines while B. caught up with some friends he hadn’t seen in years that we had bumped into at the pub. In Hebrew.
Since that night, we’ve made other valiant attempts to go out, but even a restaurant reservation and a new black lace bra were no match for hospital visits (yes, visits), exhaustion, Mercury in retrograde, and a bad hair day.
But today, it seemed that the stars were at long last aligning in our favor.
For one thing, The Girl was back at the kibbutz preschool after a week of illnesses. (Illnesses. Plural. She is very popular with the viruses in her class.) Little Homie, meanwhile, was chillin’ in his stroller, his eyelids heavy with fatigue, and B.’s mom offered to walk with him around the kibbutz so B. and I could sit and drink coffee together. Just the two of us.
Like a couple.
Now, I know a good deal when I hear one, so I ditched a drowsy Little Homie with my Fairy Godmother-in-Law so fast that I could smell the rubber from my (cheap) high heeled hooker boots as I skidded the hell out of dodge toward the coffee place where my husband was already ordering our lattes.
We pocketed our smartphones, cozied up side-by-side, and sipped our lattes. But still, even though we didn’t want to waste this rare moment of togetherness, our conversation came in fits and starts – a dialogue of deadends.
Fortunately, we share a certain intimacy – hard not to when we’ve seen each other on the toilet – and after fumbling through a few awkward moments, we began to relax into a more steady flow of conversation.
Our new apartment.
B.’s latest job interview.
The book I’m trying to write.
Easy topics for people out of practice.
In the distance, I heard a baby howl. It was one of those bloodcurdling screams where the empty space between each sob is relative to the sturm und drang of the cry: Everyone knows that the longer the silence stretches, the more ferocious the next scream will be.
The silence that hung in the balance after the first wail was ominously long, and I felt sorry for the poor mama who would have to calm that squalling brat baby.
(Ha ha ha!)
Ordinarily, when the kids are around, I’m on edge – warily watching to make sure that they don’t fall into a bed of rusty nails covered in horse manure and tetanus or whatever. And every baby whimper makes me panic. But with Little Homie presumably by now on the other side of the kibbutz and fast asleep, I shrugged my shoulders, and snuggled up under B’s arm.
“Well, at least we know that isn’t our kid,” I laughed. Then, turning to the barista, I added, “Can I get a slice of cheesecake? Todah raba.”
No sooner had I said this then my Fairy Godmother-in-Law, face stricken and chalk-white with fear, came bounding into the coffee place holding a writhing, gurgling, and sputtering Little Homie.
Seems he managed to gag himself on his fingers or on mucous from a lingering cold or on who-knows-what, but long story short, he sort of kind of choked, and then vomited. Everywhere.
Come on. Give me a freaking break!
But at least I got my coffee.