18 March 2007

It's her birthday

By the time I publish this, I'll have turned 36. As in every every birthday since the tsunami, my phone did not ring at 10 pm Portuguese time, midnight in Israel. That was something we did. It made me feel at home away from home.

Sometimes, it's the little things that pierce you. After Uzi died I found out that every year he reminded
Lila that it was my birthday. He'd say Don't forget today is her birthday. No name, just her. It's this her I miss, this her that was evident, obvious, a sure thing, this her that could only be her, that could only be me. Every year I remember it and tell myself Haiom iom uledet shelah.

Sometimes, it's the little things that put you back together. I've always believed that the universe speaks to us. I've also always believed we're often not particularly adept at deciphering it. But sometimes, during moments of immense fortune, the universe breathes in our ear in a way that is impossible to miss and we are saved, if momentarily [bursts of salvation at regular intervals are all we can hope for really]. I once read a book dedication that stayed with me forever, it was more or less like this: I thank X, who told me dragons don't exist, and then showed me their nests. This is exactly how I feel about
The Butterfly.

I find beauty in all sorts of odd places. My day may turn into a splendid thing because I avoided stepping on a snail, but oh it is so very often less noble than that. I was an adolescent in the 80's and nothing makes my hips gyrate like hearing an old friend - the worst, the better: Duran Duran's Wild Boys, Gazebo's I like Chopin, LOVE ME NOW AND AGAIN, WO-OO-WO-O-O-O!, and that classic Billy Ocean's Loverboy, which I love love love bcs it is so naff it precipitously stumbles into the ab fab. It comes as no surprise, then, that my taste in Israeli music leaves much to be desired - especially bcs, for the most part, I have no idea what they're saying. And yet, very often you don't need to speak a lot of Hebrew to be able to classify the genre - Schmalz is Schmalz after all, and schmalzy Israeli songs have a poignant, middle-eastern sound to them that is immediately recognisable. Bfr I left Israel I went on a scavenging hunt on the kibbutz, trying to amass all the songs I knew I'd need to keep me sane at home away from home. Some are quite respectable, many gave me a bit of a fright when I decided to check the lyrics online and translate what I could, some were exactly what I thought they'd be: Schmalz. Uzi was a tremendous help, he very often knew what song I was talking abt even when there was no good reason to, since my Hebrew is poor, my auditive memory worse and I cannot sing to save my life unless I pretend I'm Kermit. He was the one who discovered I'd fallen in love with this gem and don't the lyrics say it all? If you're curious abt the song, here is a live performance (and if you're inclined to pity me bcs of my poor musical taste, kindly look at the comments. It could be so much worse). I actually understood most of it, it was the singer that eluded me, and after I'd finally managed to tape it I'd have an absolutely brill time loudly singing along whenever Uzi left the room. [He didn't dare mock me much bcs he himself fell in love with some highly disreputable Brazillian songs. Milla? A thousand and one nights of love with you? On the beach, on the ground, in the dark lighthouse? Please.]

I got back from the synagogue a while ago and I sat here, determined to write an optimistic post of sorts and not quite sure how to go abt it. I was literally staring off into space when a familiar melody drifted in from the office, to my utter disbelief. Someone had somehow found their way into Every man has a woman who will close the circle with him.

You see, it IS her birthday, and she misses him. But she's momentarily saved by gratitude.

21 furballs:

Anonymous said...

Still not your birthday yet over on this side of the world, but I'm wishing you a happy one just the same.

Have I told you lately that I'm glad you were born?

Thank you for sharing your moments of beauty with us.


Eliyahu said...

so that's why i've been listening to Noa singing Italian music in Hebrew with strings! i knew there was some connection in the universe that made that happen! blessings on being so alive! blessings that you shall have your heart's desire, and some sleep, and the best year ever!

brooksba said...

Happy Birthday! I wish we could be there to celebrate with you, to hold each moment of the day in highest regards because it is your day. I hope for butterflies to find you today. Much love to you.

Patience said...

Happy Birthday to you my friend x

Anonymous said...

Mazal tov le yom holedet shelach!!!
Mazal tov. mazal tov. mazal tov.

(Last year at this time I was as unhappy as one can be. But I told myself, nobody will keep me from turning the next one in a happy one. For some reason someone had a pity with me and it did indeed become one of the best years in my life. i dearly wish the same to you!! and I almost think you have the same birthday as my "loverboy". coincidences often leave me stunned.)

Udge said...

Happy birthday, dear Lioness. May the universe continue to speak to you.

Udge said...

I've had that song running in my head for over an hour now. The emotional potency of Schmalz is just astonishing :-)

Aurelia said...

Happy Happy birthday my dear.

And Mazel Tov, I know this will be a year filled with light and love for you.


Ed said...

Penblwydd Hapus i ti!

treppenwitz said...

My first instinct when reading this was to call you. Imediately!

But then I realized that no, the birthday call from Israel belongs to someone else... and that would be too creepy of me do that.

But sitting here in Israel my thoughts are with you and I wish you a very happy birthday. I'll call you another day to extend my best wishes... but not today.

Bumble said...

Happy Birthday Lioness, I hope you had a good day xx And I want this to be the BEST year for you.

silene said...

Happy Birthday - I hope this year brings you what you desire.

Lilian said...

Happy Birthday, even though it's no longer the 18th there in Portugual.

I loved this:
"But sometimes, during moments of immense fortune, the universe breathes in our ear in a way that is impossible to miss and we are saved, if momentarily [bursts of salvation at regular intervals are all we can hope for really]."

Particularly how you frame it in the context of music, of songs (ha, I like Chopin was my cousin's favorite song one summer)... music has that effect in my life too. Particularly good Brazilian music :)

anyway... I'm happy that one song made your day today and got you to write this lovely post.

CarpeDM said...

Crap. Now I forgot your birthday. Are we a bunch of dorks or what? Forgetful dorks

Anyway, happy belated birthday and I love you muchly and I am sitting here remembering you singing to Beth and I as Kermit and it was the most fabulous thing I had ever heard and we laughed and laughed.

I miss you every day. And I love the fact that Loverboy played that song. I believe Uzi was wishing you a happy birthday.

Beijos, dahling.

Diana said...

A very happy birthday, dahling, and many more.

I have many emotions about what you wrote but no words to throw at them, so I'll just wish for you peace, laughter, sun, furry creatures who make messes, people to love, people who love you, and all the good things that life has to offer.

Raise your glass and have some cake.

Anonymous said...


Irina Tsukerman said...

Belated happy birthday!

l said...

I'm sorry I missed your birthday my dear. I'd forgotten you shared it with Piper so generously last year.
We send belated happy birthday wishes from Canada and much love.

Nancy said...

Here's hoping that this is the year happiness comes to you...

Lisa said...

Hi darling -

Happy birthday. Sorry I'm so late with this greeting, I've been rather scatterbrained lately. I just want you to know that I think you are one of the most amazing and wonderful people I have ever met.



Sarah said...

Feliz aniversario, amiga!!!

I'm diggin' your writing of late...I mean I was before too, but there seems to be a full moon over there these days or something.