Tel Aviv, Israel
Last night in Tel Aviv was an event called, White Night. It’s one of the biggest cultural celebrations of the year with beach concerts, parties, exhibitions, tours, and live music all around the city. I’d read earlier in the day that many of the festivities would took place in Jaffa and decided to head that way around 8:00 pm or so.
As usual, I probably took the least practical route, but was in no hurry. I watched how the landscape of the trail gradually shifted the closer I got to the southern and oldest part of town. Scantily clad girls returning from a day of sunbathing drifting past men playing a game of Brazilian Beach Soccer Volleyball slowly gave way to hookahs and hijabs.
I walked the cobblestone steps of Jaffa past gift shops and tourists drawn in by exotic melodies. I stumbled upon hundreds of people, young and old, listening to a band whose prose I didn’t understand but tried to simply feel. There was music on virtually every corner and for a brief moment the musicians almost seemed to be competing with one another.
There must have been hundreds and hundreds of people promenading through the narrow avenues listening, watching, smelling, and being. I tried to give each band a small bit of my time before deciding it was time to push forward.
Eventually, I decided it was time to head back downtown. Once again I courted the Mediterranean Sea for my jaunt home, and tried to be the gentlemen, making certain she stayed on my left away from the traffic and perils of what lie on my right. I listened to Coltrane and Ellington talk about sentimental moods before my iPod battery ceased to be. Slowly, my body took its lead as I felt sleep start to storm my body. My eyelids grew heavy before fatigue worked its way south storming my feet and now aching knees.
I wondered how many cities, hours, and years I’d sauntered through places, some more familiar than others. What was it I’d hoped to accomplish in all my unchartered strolls? Perhaps I was hoping to meet someone new, even fall in love. I don’t know precisely what, but gathered I sought purpose, even validation. I’d received my fair share of both in the past, but its thirst never seemed quenched.
I walked and walked in desperate hope that one or the other would take me by the hand and guide me home.
At Ella and Rony’s wedding I asked, Keren, early 30s, originally from Israel what the best piece of advice she ever received was. She said, “Never settle.”