Jerusalem

The other day, as I walked to work, the streets were wet from the night’s rain.
The sun was coming out from behind the low-slung clouds, and I could tell it would be a reluctantly sunny day.

You know how smells can suddenly bring you back to places you hadn’t thought of in years?  I crossed the street and suddenly smelled Jerusalem after rain.  I pictured the limestone walls, the sheen of water of the pale stone, the crush of people: bearded rabbis in black hats and young men in tight jeans, matriarchs with wigs and girls with long skirts, a soldier standing on the corner, watching.

When I came back after almost a year there, it took me a while to settle down.  Loud noises made me nervous about explosions.  Helicopters overhead made me think something bad had happened.  And everything seemed so big: the streets so wide, the cars so overgrown, the grocery stores obscenely huge.

I thought of all of this from that one moment of the smell of rain on pavement.

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