It feels like I am always driving. I am blessed to have clients located in various parts of Israel. We bought a hybrid car to cut down on gas and make us feel that we are doing some small part for the environment, but nothing can cut down on how often I am driving and so, when I have the chance to have someone else drive, I take it.
Elie was driving yesterday when he came upon a very slow moving car. The "Lamed" on the top of the car indicated that it was a student driver out on a lesson. Elie carefully passed it on the left and then moved back into the right lane. The car moved a bit into our lane as Elie was passing it, but then moved to the left lane. From there, it cut behind our car all the way to the right, cutting off another car before turning into a predominantly Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem. The driver was a woman wearing a veil; the instructor yet another.
Somehow in the conversation that followed, yet another story from Elie's time in the army came out. He was in a car leaving Jerusalem. As a commander, he sat in front; the driver to his left. Suddenly, Arabs tried to run them off the road - this was a major highway. Elie pulled out his gun and shot in the air and then pointed the gun at the tires of the car driven by the Arabs as, over the microphone, he ordered it to pull over.
Once the car did as it was ordered, the soldiers called the police, who came and arrested the Arabs. No one was hurt - not the Arabs, and not the soldiers. Not Elie, whose car was nearly forced off the road.
I sat there almost dumbfounded. I can't help but wonder how many more stories are like this, buried deep inside him. "How many other times did you have to raise your gun?" I asked him.
Elie smiled and kept driving. He loves dropping these little bombshells on me. I can't really worry now, a few years later, can I?
Elie laughs at the idea that he lied during his army service. He loves slowly telling me that so often he wasn't where he said he was. "You deliberately lied to me!" I said with feigned indignation.
"Yup," Elie answered with the grin that I cherish so much.
Another story, another reality he lived with, lived through. And deep beyond the pretend indignation I show him, is the gratitude that I didn't know. A defense mechanism in mothers, I think.