Friday, August 26, 2011


Where am I? What is this? I feel like a sharp, sweet, blade chipped from a piece of rock candy has cut into my heart. I am opened and you can share my thoughts. Walking through the late night alleys of the Sacred City. I see darkness. I see shadows. I see bright security lights. I see soldiers. Is it always like this? Yes, though I have never witnessed it before. This is mmy  first first alone time.....And my feet know where to go.

I am Laila, the daughter of an Armenian Orthodox cleric. My father is a truly reverent man. And he has taught me well. Not formally. There were no lessons. I simply absorbed his teachings as I lived. My coins find their way to the poor box. My prayers waft up to Heaven (we are in Jerusalem, after all). Yet I search for something more. Please allow me to play a part in all this. Please lift me up from the choir and let me sing songs of my own.

I run my tongue along my eye teeth, willing them to grow. I wear dark colors. I wear black. My father approves of that, for at fifteen I am no longer a girl. I pretend to hear voices.....No, maybe I really do hear them. They tell me where to go. A being whispers in my ear. I call him 'Papa.'....... Not that he has taken the place of my own sainted father, only as a name. Is he but a great puppet master? Well, so what if he is. Some people think that God plays that role too.

My feet want to race down a black, deep shaft. I cannot see the steps, but I know just where they are, though Papa does not permit this. He pulls me. He calls to me. He gently pushes me and I respond. There is a door, a thick, old, wooden slab. I press my fingers upon its surface. It opens silently. Did I push it? I do not know.

Now I am in a courtyard. The old residences of this city are arranged that way... a blank face to the street.... a private sanctum behind closed doors. I have seen movies, old Hollywood films. The housekeeper watches them om a small, black and white television. Zorro lived in a house like this, so did Judah Ben Hur....... and so did a certain one called 'Jonathon.' I do not know him, but Papa shares his name.

I sit down on the edge of a tinkling fountain. Tiny moonlit ripples sparkle in the dark. I belong here...and I wait...... Then a slim, 'young' being floats down from above. His bare feet find purchase on the smooth, cool stones. I look up into a face  that has a haunting angular look, like a Peter Pan I've seen in animated cartoons (blame the housekeeper). This juvenile life-eater sits down next to me and takes my hand. His shoulders have an ivory glow. I think he is going to kiss me, but he does not. And the candy, sweet  blade shows me his name..... Roland......he is Roland........The one called Papa has 'sent' him all the way from his seat in The City of Brotherly Love to 'rescue' me. I smile. He laughs quietly. Then he says my name. He says 'Laila.' I nod, as he squeezes my hand and leads me deeper and deeper into the shadows...

Fifteen.....I am fifteen years old......And now, I shall be that age forever................

Yet I am still my father's daughter...........ah, the Old City of Jerusalem.....a place where ancient souls are born anew...............

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