Elie called in the early afternoon, "Can you pick me up?"
I was in the mall shopping for shoes for my daughter and for me. Suddenly, all things became so silly. I had no patience for shoes, though we found them - Elie was coming home!
I dropped my two younger kids at home, grabbed brownies and the special tuna-corn pancakes that Elie loves, a bottle of ice tea and some cups - and drove. I didn't take a map; didn't have the GPS from the other car. I know the general way - I'll wing it if I have to.
Enough gas - another delay avoided. Drive...drive and don't think. Drive and enjoy.
"How much longer?" Elie called at one point.
"Another 30-40 minutes at most, I think." I told him at one point.
"I'm still inside. I'll try to get a ride out now," Elie told me. I wouldn't be allowed up to the cannons but would meet him at the same place I met him last time. He would try to find someone with a jeep to drive him to the meeting point.
I took a wrong turn - drove twice as fast to get back to the right point. Called Elie when I got to the meeting point and he wasn't there. The parking lot where I had met him last time was empty. Before it was filled with cars of reservists who had been called to war. There were no buses - last time, there had been three - full of soldiers being moved to and from the front lines. There were no helicopters hovering overheard. But there were signs, "The people embrace our soldiers" and "You fight for our holy land" and simply "The people thank the fighters of Israel."
"Drive down the road till you get to the military police blocking the back road." He told me - and I did, past the "Closed Military Zone" sign in Hebrew and in English. The atmosphere was relaxed. I pulled next to another set of parents whose son was now in the car. I smiled at the mother; she smiled at me. There are times words need not be said, and yet volumes have been exchanged.
Elie was standing there with all of his backpacks. He filled the trunk, even put more in the backseat.
"Want me to drive?" he asked.
That's man-talk for "I want to drive" or "Can I drive?"
I countered with, "do you want to?" which was kind of unnecessary because he was already moving to the driver's door. I figured the least I could get out of it was a hug. I asked if he wanted something to eat or drink. He took the ice tea. I won't tell you about him drinking straight from the bottle or that I couldn't bring myself to even complain about it. We'll pretend it never happened.
"Do you want some brownies?" I asked him.
"Later," he said. "I just ate."
I offered the military police brownies before leaving. And as we drove home...or he did, we talked and talked and talked. We had an amazing conversation - I'll post about that separately. That was yesterday. Within minutes of arriving home, I was in the middle of laundry and other preparations and so I'll come back - later today, or early next week to as much of the substance as I can write about. That was yesterday.