The days turned into weeks. JJB and I were quite a pair.
"Marry me today," he would say...
"Marry me tonight," he'd insist...
My favorite was, "My beautiful woman, I met a rabbi today in the sook who will marry us whenever we want. He'll even travel to Greece with us if you want to get married there. What do you think?"
Mmmmm. This was a lot to take in.
Even though I had not officially said yes to what I considered a very "unofficial" marriage proposal, JJB started introducing me to people as his fiance. "This is Namaste," he'd say to whoever would listen, "We're in love, and she doesn't really believe me yet, but I'm going to make her the happiest woman in the world. Yep. Uh-huh. I've asked her to be my wife."
Typically, I would give a mollifying nod when people looked from JJB to me and then back to him again with a "malzotov!" or a "congratulations". This typically engendered two glasses of chamagne for us, and so it was never the appropriate time for me to bring up the fact that I found the idea of falling in love in 2 weeks, much less in a war zone to be an absolute and total cliche.
On one hand, I did enjoy his company, and I actually missed him when he wasn't around the small flat we began to share. I found him exceptionally doting and open with me, and yet able to give me space. Moreover, he indulged my whimsical nature, which, for him, was a very positive thing. He never once denied me anything. When I was a little tipsy and felt like strolling through the Arab quarter at midnight under a full moon, he enthusiastically joined me and even gave me space when I wanted to speak Arabic to the people in the street. He became my personal photographer, and insisted on taking countless amounts of great pictures of me on our small trips. One day, when I suddenly had a craving for flourless chocolate cake, he investigated the city's pastry chefs and indulged my sweet tooth that night. I'll never forget the morning I woke up and said, " Today, I feel like we should go camel riding. What do you think?" Of course, he didn't tell me no. I made him "schlep" with me all over the place, which I knew was more for me than for him.
We made for great companions, and yet, despite this ostensibly functional relationship...there was still something there, just below the surface that just didn't feel right. At first, I thought it was me. I thought that maybe the situation presented to me was opening up my fear of marriage and committment itself. Was I that empty inside? Did I not have the ability to connect fully and passionately to someone?--Much less to this person who connected so fully and passionately to me? Every day, however, it felt like he was searching for the proper key to use on me in order to get me to bend to his will, his desire to marry me so quickly. And likewise, it seemed as though every day, was a dance of cat and mouse for us, a game of survival for me. At first, this made me incredibly uncomfortable. Then, because of his generosity and general will to please me, I started feeling guilty.
At night, unable to sleep to his heavy sleep-breathing, I would throw off the covers, creep over to the window and open the drapes so that the moonlight could fill the room. I often stood there, on the edge of the West Bank, feeling as though I was standing on the edge of the world. Was it a knife's edge or simply my edge? There, I ponder all of the blind alleys and deliberate choices I had already made in my life to lead me into the arms of my sleeping, strange, self-assertive man. Part of me wondered if perhaps it was time that I did allow myself to more or less bend to the will of someone else. I wondered, would it be bending, or would it be compromising? It made me wonder how far down the Jerusalem rabbit hole I was prepared to go, and even better, what on earth I could possibly find down there.