Thursday, April 25, 2013

When We Started Realizing the World Is Round / Thoughts on Encounters and the Risks of Service Year

This story does not have a happy ending,
And yes, it did actually happen:
For a long time, Galia the service year volunteer was feeling that something good was happening with her tutoring. Hilly, whom was reserved and suspicious in the beginning, was showing first signs of closeness. After a few weeks of school sessions, she invited Galia to tutor her at home. Galia went over there excited, and returned even more excited – and not necessarily for the same reasons. Hilly shared a little with her on what's happening at home. With childlike innocence – mixed with signs of awareness and shame, she spoke about her family. Mom's not home, Dad's in trouble. Telling and not telling. Galia saw and understood, or at least tried to understand. In her own way, she tried to offer a helping hand.
Soul touching a soul.
Galia found herself devoting all her efforts in trying to understand Hilly. The guys at the commune joked that she already had a PhD on Hilly… She agreed to share her insights with us. I, who coordinated the learning center where Hilly studied, tried not to be taken by her charming shy smile and pretty eyes, and treat Hilly firmly, provide her with the clear structure she needed (or at least so I thought).
Once, when I saw her curled up on a mattress and chided her to get up and study, Galia quietly scolded me – "Let her, she's not at home. She wants to finally be a kid. She's allowed to". I got the message. After all, it was her doctorate.
A week ago, Galia entered the learning center upset. Furious. They're transferring Hilly to an apartment in Arad, in two days. A month and a half before the end of 6th grade, her father decided to take her and her brother with him south. Galia was angry, they were already starting rehearsals for the grade's graduation party, were thinking together on a middle school that would suit her. What is she going to do there in Arad? How will she start over now the year is ending? What will happen to their shared process? Galia took a deep breath and whispered – what was the point of this entire encounter? 
The next day she explained to me, in a choked voice trying to sound calm – they've offered Hilly's father a rehabilitation program in Arad and he's decided to try and start over. Hilly, a month before the end of the year, was taken away from her friends and environment to start over again with him.

On her last day, Hilly left before they even got to give her a parting gift, with her eyes down, she gave half a hug to Galia, and ran to a car waiting for her earlier than planned, leaving no time to say goodbye.
He's her father; Galia explained to me, he's trying to save his family.
I recognized in her eyes a sobered look, almost devoid of anger.
And when the anger is over, what probably remains is mostly pain.
I remembered, the same look I saw on Lior a service year volunteer from a year ago, who got caught in similar story with a child she cared for and loved, whose parents kept away from her.
It’s the same understanding I'm familiar with from my service time.
That moment when I find myself standing in front of a very bad situation.
Me against the world.
The world against the ones I love.
The world against itself, and I'm trying to keep order.
And then one moment afterwards, the realization hits me that there aren't really bad or good guys in this story, and probably no right or wrong. And order – I won't be able to make here any longer.

This is a true story.
It doesn't have a happy ending.
But maybe perhaps, in the manner of true stories, it doesn't really have an ending,
It keeps on spinning, keeps rolling in the world.
And in that hidden corner where the soul touched another soul, this eternal encounter will keep going on, it's impression imprinted, no matter how many rotations it goes through.
This is a warning for anyone who wants to touch these lives.

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