A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY EDEN RAVIV
The air hot and sticky, it’s refreshing to step on the icy marble floors. My Safta always keeps the air 30 degrees too cold. Everything neat and silent unlike the Israeli kids screaming at the park just a few yards away. The winding path is not concrete, but billions of tiny pebbles cemented into place, matted cats cover every bench and garbage can in sight as we approach the playground. The older kids climbed to the peak of the big yellow slide, its top nearly scraping the clouds according to my seven year old eyes. I used to love climbing up inside it through the bottom. I was too scared to slide down. The funnel-shaped structure made a cool echoing sound when I spoke, sort of like a megaphone.
I would sit in the bottom for a while, talking to myself. My safta would see me start to climb up and would warn me in hebrew, ze lo igamer tov, that’s not going to end well. She worries a lot, like I do now. I worry about little things: being late, forgetting, losing or breaking something that doesn’t belong to me. I guess it’s good that my Safta worries. She never breaks things; her house is always clean. My Saba is even worse. When he travels, he insists on arriving at the airport four hours before our flight. If we were to miss our flight, for him, it would be the equivalent of the sun exploding. But he does not stress about big things like that, and I doubt he ever thinks about philosophy. His actions factually supported and his thoughts organized as chayalim, as soldiers. He was a soldier. He built weapons in the Israeli army. It’s hard for me to imagine when I see those little boys and girls in Israel holding guns taller than me; those were my Saba and Safta. It’s possible that’s why they are always so careful: you can’t be inattentive around guns.
They are my mirror, they reflect much of my personality. I play my violin timidly because I’m afraid to play out of tune. I lack aggressiveness on the soccer field because I’m afraid I’ll get hurt like some of my teammates. But every so often, I let loose. I play fortissimo con fuoco as my teacher would say, I run through the player with the ball. Sometimes I miss the shift on my violin, sometimes I fall to the ground. Once in a while, I sing out the phrase and the back row of the audience can hear it as if they were in the front. Sometimes I win the ball and play the perfect pass right through the defense. Before I do anything, I see the million things that could go wrong. Ze lo igamer tov, I think to myself. But for all those million things, there is something good that could happen too. Ze cen igamer tov, this will end well, I used to tell my Safta when she told me not to climb that yellow slide.
It’s been a few years since I’ve visited my grandparent’s house in Israel, and I wonder if my slide is still there. I wonder what it would look like to me now. Would that slide still kiss the clouds? Would the sea of cats seem to have shrunk down to just a puddle? If I could speak to my seven year old self, I would probably tell her not to climb up the bottom of that slide, to think of all the things that could go wrong. I wish she could tell me every once in a while to think of what just might turn out ok.
Fourteen-year-old Eden Raviv is from Chicago, Illinois.