There was an older Arab woman having trouble getting her card to work. A young man in sports clothes tapped his foot patiently waiting as did a younger, attractive Arab woman as well as Traveller himself. Finally an older man approached to help her but, just as her transaction was being completed, two young Palestinian men, full of the importance of their youth and the business they need to do, stepped ahead of the line waiting to use the ATM also.
The woman was taking her time with her money, as older women tend to do, giving Traveller a chance to step forward and tap the taller of the two young man on his shoulder. "Pardon me," Traveller said, "but there is a line, that Gentleman," Traveller nodded toward the young man in sports clothes, "he is first, and then, then this young lady is next."
Traveller gave an exagerated shrug, "Me? Me, I don't care, you can go ahead of me."
The man turned toward Traveller, incredulous, staring at him through enormous sun glasses that hid everything about his eyes. Sensing that Traveller was serious, he asked, "So the bank hired you to monitor this line?"
"Yes," Traveller pleasantly responded, "they did. This is my Job."
"And this job pays well?" the man asked with a certain rising voice.
"No, not particularly well," Traveller told him, "but it is is honorable work, and," with a wave of his hand, Traveller finished, "I liked the people."
The woman trundled off, as old women tend to do and the man in sports clothes moved forward and quickly completed his transaction. Next the head covered, (of course), young Palestinian woman did her business and Traveller waived the young men forward.
They signed and rolled their eyes, pained at all the odd burdens life seemingly at random imposed on them.
Traveller himself stepped forward to the machine. It was a beautifully bright morning in Jerusalem. The sky clean and impossibly blue. The cold of the previous night had burned off early.
Traveller himself was an old man, but life was...very good.
Christmas evening, Traveller had completed in a single run, through the rabbit warren of tiny incredibably crowded streets and crooked paths that the Old City of Jerusalem was, all 14 Stations of the Cross, (even the half-hidden 9th station), in a run from the Lion's Gate to...The Place of All Things...in less than 90 minutes when the Church of the Holy Seplecure closes at 6:40ish early every night, locked by the Muslim key man.
Traveller was the last person allowed in.
Sweating in the cold.
The Greek Orthodox Priest ushered him into the tiny crypt, the rest of the enormous Church dark and quiet, the candles blown out.
Traveller kissed the stone, said thank you for having been allowed to live his life and wept.
I'm now in Netanya awaiting an early flight to Paris. I mean I can bitch and cry and moan about how tough life is, (and it is, truly), but not that bad either.
I tried to stay in Tel Aviv....it is just a big modern city. I have to be up at 5:00am no matter where I am...so I came back to Netanya...no waves, no surfers glad for the winter storms, just placid, like glass, a crystal clear Mediterranean Sea. An unbelievable change.
Traveller quickly checked in, grabbed his mask and snorkel.
He was last seen swimming West, toward a warm setting sun.
Best Wishes, Traveller