Thy Love to Me was Wonderful (2 Samuel 1:26)

by David Neph


I never cease to be amazed at the concealed wisdom of some of the ceremonies and customs of our people. Nir could hardly be called a religious person, and yet he found comfort and strength in the week of intensive formalised mourning. Every day my house was filled with people coming to comfort him, just to be with him, to sit with him, to chat with him, to reminisce with him. Every evening we held a prayer service. Nir stood respectfully as others participated in the service, even though he himself did not. Yet, at the end of the service each evening, when the time came for mourners to recite the memorial prayer he did so - and did so with a tremor in his voice that taught that his emotion was being held in check.

So many people came to visit him that it was obvious that he was a very popular and beloved person. In his own unassuming way, Nir thought that all these people were showing their respect for Oren not for him, Nir. Soldiers from his unit came; soldiers from Oren's unit came; old schoolfriends came; staff from the school came; Rabbi Moshe came - and gently explained to Nir that the memorial prayer was not for the dead but for the living, that they should accept the blow that fate had placed on them and get on with their lives. Nir listened and nodded, but I could tell that he was unconvinced.

The most emotionally charged moment of the week, however, was none of these. About the third evening, just before the service was about to begin three soldiers came in. I immediately recognised Charlie, Beber and Snir. I recalled how these three - Charlie especially, had been the nemesis of Oren and Nir when they were at school. Being the good-natured people that they were, Nir and Oren had never really been subjected to ridicule or prejudice because of their relationship. They had been lucky enough always to fall into the company of people who, if not approving, were at least understanding or tolerant. But Charlie and his cronies at school had been a real threat from which I had done my best to protect the fledgling lovebirds. Now, here they were in this house of mourning, and I suspected trouble.

I was wrong. The service began and Charlie, Beber and Snir participated respectfully. After the service, when some people started to go and the throng thinned out, Charlie went over to Nir, who had not yet sat down. He shook Nir's hand and said, "Nir, I'm so sorry." And then he gave Nir a hug and started weeping. How strange: it was Nir who was now embracing Charlie in his arms and comforting him. When he calmed down Charlie continued, "I'm so sorry for Oren. He didn't deserve it. If it had happened to someone like me or Beber or Snir I would have understood. But Oren? He never harmed anyone in his life. It's not fair."

I joined in, easily slipping into the role of teacher again. "No one said life is fair, Charlie."

"I am also sorry for you, Nir. I hope to be married when we get out of the army, and I know what I would feel if anything were to happen to Shlomit. I don't know how you can take this blow so calmly. But most of all I am sorry for what we did to you and Oren in school. Since I have been in the army I have seen much suffering. There is enough suffering in the world; we don't have to add to it. I cannot begin to understand how you and Oren felt for each other - but you did, and that's a fact. If I had then had the wisdom and experience that I now have I would never have subjected you to that abuse. You are different from me, but the harsh realities of the violence of our age have taught me to accept and respect differences, even when I can't understand them. Forgive me."

That was a long speech for Charlie and it was an object lesson for me. People can change. Charlie had changed, and now that he had broken the ice, as it were, Beber and Snir also came forward to pay their respects.

And then the week was over. On the morning of the seventh day, before 'resuming' life where tragedy had broken it off, Nir told me that he wanted to visit the grave. While this was certainly a custom honoured by many sections of our people it was not one that I wanted for Nir. The week of intensive mourning had, so far, served its psychological function and drained him emotionally. Would all the emotions he had felt at the time of the funeral come crowding back? But, of course, I could not stop him. I followed the old wisdom of 'if you can't beat 'em - join 'em', and offered to accompany Nir to the cemetery.

It was about 10 in the morning and the section of the cemetery we had to visit was deserted. There were just the two of us. Nir had brought some flowers with him. The flowers that had covered the new grave a week ago were now wilted and dead. Lovingly, Nir removed them, revealing once again the cold sods of earth shaped into a mound by the spades of the gravediggers. Soon the military authorities would come and cover the grave with decent, simple stone, add a headstone giving details of who was buried there. In the meantime the grave was covered with the bouquet of flowers that Nir had brought with him.

Nir stood there, at the foot of the grave, for a full five minutes, silent. Completely silent. Then he turned to me. "Dudu, he's not there."

"What do you mean, 'he's not there'?" I asked, worriedly.

"I can't feel him. I thought that I would be able to feel him lying there in the cold earth, but I can't. He's not there. He's here."

I looked at him again. "Nironni, I don't understand."

He looked at me in return and tried to explain. "I mean that I cannot imagine him lying there in that grave. Every time I try to imagine him I just feel him here in my heart, in my soul. He's not there in the earth; he's here in my heart, in my memory."

I took him in my arms. "And that is where he will live forever, Nir. Oren is alive in your memory. Keep him always alive. He is now truly your soulmate."

He clung to me. For the first time in sixteen years I had a man in my arms again. It felt so good. Nir was weeping. Not the heaving sobs of tragic separation that I had witnessed a week ago, but the soft weeping of relief: Oren was not gone; Oren was with him still. I held him in my arms, gently rubbing his back in a soothing gesture. After a time he stopped crying and looked up at me, still hugging me close to him. "Thank you, Dudu. I needed that. You are so kind. I don't know what I would do without you. I now understand why Oren loved you so. I love you too, Dudu."

He placed a kiss on my left cheek and then one on my right cheek. I kissed him on the forehead. Then, gently, hardly touching, he kissed me on my lips. An electric shock passed through my body and my whole being was in turmoil. It was sixteen years since I had experienced the feel of another man's lips on mine. Nir was weeping again, so I held him tightly until he eventually pulled away.

"I'm so sorry, David. I don't know how that happened. Can you forgive me?"

"Nironni, there is nothing to forgive." Indeed, there was not. For the very first time, as I released him, I became consciously aware that my feelings towards him had changed. I was feeling for him a different kind of love, a love that was no longer that of a surrogate father, a mentor, a protector.

We prepared to leave the graveside. In my inner turmoil I suddenly said, "Nir, while we are here there is another grave that I want to visit. Could you wait for me?"

"No. But I can come with." He took my hand and we went, hand in hand, as I searched for the old, familiar grave. I stood at the foot of the grave. I had brought no flowers as I had not expected to visit this grave. I stooped and picked up a small stone from the gravel path and placed it on the gravestone - a sign that I had been to visit. Sixteen years ago I had been where Nir was now - but there had been no one to comfort me, to guide me, to hurt with me. Nir at least had me; I had then had no one.

Nir read the inscription on the headstone and then turned to me. "Dudu, who was Jonathan Davidson?"

"Someone I once knew." My voice was dull, lifeless. Nir ignored it, determined to awaken old memories, old pains.

"According to the information here he was only nineteen years old when he died."


"Today, if he had lived, he would be - what? Thirty-five?"


"Dudu, are you thirty-five years old?"


"Don't hold it in, Dudu. Let it out." He took me in his arms, and now it was his turn to comfort me. That simple gesture of sincere affection - love - burst the dam that had held back the tears for sixteen years. I sobbed, wept. My shoulders heaved. In my heart I could hear my silent wail: Yoni, my beloved Yoni, don't leave me! I can't bear the thought of being without you at my side! I love you, Yoni, and I shall never stop loving you. Yoni!!!!! Don't go! Yoni!!!

"Shush, Dudu. Don't mourn. He's still alive in your heart. He's always been there and he always will be there. Do not mourn the dead who are still alive."

Suffering had given him wisdom and compassion.

Silently, gently but firmly, he led me away from the grave and out of the cemetery. At the entrance there was a water fountain where people washed their hands before leaving. We washed our hands and dried them on the paper serviettes provided, and then we made our way home.


Nir had to go back to his unit now to finish off his army service. It was only a matter of a few weeks, but those few weeks were very lonely. I threw myself into my schoolwork, but my heart wasn't in it. I missed Oren, badly. I thought of how he looked: a swarthy complexion, dark brown hair, wiry, unruly, handsome face, deep-set eyes which smouldered, heavy eyebrows, straight, noble nose, mouth surrounded by thin lips, masculine, forward projecting chin. He was alive in my memory.

But then another semblance took his place. Nir looked very different from Oren. The most striking difference was that Nir had silky blond hair that swept forward and down across his brow. He had open, honest blue eyes with eyebrows so light-coloured that they could hardly be seen. His nose turned up slightly, his cheeks were lifted high and his mouth was surrounded by thick, sumptuous lips. If it was Oren's eyes that smouldered it was Nir's lips that burned, demanding to be kissed, promising heaven.

I yearned for Nir's presence. It was a strange feeling, but not unknown. I had experienced that sweet yearning many years ago. I tried hard to put that yearning aside, to lock it away. I don't know why I did so: maybe I thought that it was a kind of sacrilege of Oren's memory; maybe I thought it was wrong for a teacher to think like that about a pupil; maybe I thought that he was too young and I was too old. I don't know. It was not a conscious act of dismissal, but an involuntary one - that did not wholly succeed.

And then, one day, suddenly, Nir appeared on my doorstep, unexpected, unannounced. He was in civilian clothes, carrying a 'chimidan' crammed to the full with all his worldly goods. He had a broad grin on his face.

"Nir! What a lovely surprise!"

"Aren't you going to let me in?"

"Of course. Come in, come in. I wasn't expecting you."

"I wanted it to be a surprise. I was demobilized this morning - and here I am."

"Oh, how wonderful. Your parents will be delighted, I am sure."

"Bugger my parents," Nir retorted, vehemently. "I want to live with you."

"With me?" My heart leaped - from hope? from fear?

"Yes, with you. I have thought of almost nothing else over the past three weeks. I can have Oren's old room, can't I?"

I could think of many, many reasons why I should say no. Cogent reasons. Logical reasons. But from somewhere in the deepest recesses of my being there escaped, uninvited, unexpected, the simple word, "Yes."

He went straight to Oren's room, dumped his 'chimidan' on the bed and returned immediately. He had staked out his claim, as it were. "Dudu, I shall get a job so that I can pay you rent and my share of the household expenses..."

I cut him short. "No, you won't. You are going to university, as planned."

"I can do both. That was what ..." he stopped for a moment and a dark shadow of pain came over his face. Then, with a magnificent effort of self control he resumed. "... that was what Oren and I had planned anyway."

"We'll talk about it later," I said, somewhat dismissingly. He smiled, and said, "OK," as if he was certain that we would talk about it later.

And we did.


The days became weeks, the weeks became months and soon a year had almost passed. I found that my life in school was much easier to bear now that I had someone to come home to. Nir was a lodger, just as Oren had been. There was absolutely no physical contact between us, just as there had been none between me and Oren. I would never have thought of it as regards Oren, but I must admit that I felt differently towards Nir. I could not describe my feelings. I just had to look at him and had that feeling in my heart that I wanted to care for him, caress him, shelter him... And that feeling in my heart became a physical pain in my stomach, a pain of yearning.

One evening, I was sitting in my den marking papers, when Nir came home from his part-time job. He came straight to me in the den.

"Do you want some supper?" I asked.

"No thanks. Later."

"So what do you want? To look at me marking exam papers?" I asked jokingly.

"No. Put the papers aside." I noticed more and more how Nir was kind of 'taking charge' of situations. I put the papers aside, sank into my armchair and waited.

"Dudu, tell me about Jonathan Davidson." That came like a bolt out of the blue.

"Jonathan Davidson?" I asked lamely.

He went to my desk and retrieved the album of pictures and letters. "Yes, Dudu, Jonathan Davidson. This Jonathan Davidson."

I was trapped.

"We were nineteen years old," I said, my voice unsteady. "We had first met in the army and immediately fell in love. But Yoni's father was a homophobe and when he found out about us he was determined to separate us. He had connections 'high up' and he managed to get Yoni out of the army and sent him to Paris, France. He thought that absence would put an end to our feelings for each other. I, of course, was trapped in the army, because my parents had no influence at all with anyone 'high up'. Yoni wrote to me almost every day, and I wrote back to him. Then suddenly the letters stopped. After five days of not hearing from him I plucked up my courage, demanded and got leave from my unit, and went to confront his father. His father was in a state of absolute desolation: Yoni had been killed three days earlier when crossing a street. A Parisian bus had mowed him down. His father knew that if he had not sent his son to Paris he would still have been alive." I paused for a moment, then continued. "And I know that if he had not been sent to Paris he would be alive today and he and I would be living together as life-long partners."

Nir hugged me tight. "I know how you feel," he said, his voice on the verge of choking. "And you have kept his memory alive for all these years..." he mused, and I was not certain whether he was talking to me or talking to himself. "Let's have supper now," he said. And we did.


After supper he took me back into the den. "Dudu, I have a problem that I want to discuss with you."

"Go ahead. What's your problem?"

"Do you think that we can love only one person?"

"Of course not! I have two parents and I have no trouble in loving them both." I was careful to give myself as an example, and not Nir, whose relationship with his parents was very fragile.

"That's not what I meant, and you know it," he responded crisply. "I meant, do you think that it is possible - let's say for you to fall in love with someone other than Yoni?"

Again I was trapped. A year ago I would have said that it was impossible, but now... I had begun to recognise that my feelings towards Nir were not just 'paternal' as I had imagined. I prevaricated slightly. "I do not think that it is impossible, Nir." Maybe he had found someone to replace Oren. That would be very good for him, even if it would be verging on the tragic for me. Yes, David, dammit! Admit it! You know what you feel for him!

"If I were to fall in love with someone, would that not be traitorous towards Oren?"

My heart sank. So there was someone. How could I have been so blind? How did I miss all the signs?

"If I know you, Nir, you will go on loving Oren until the day you die. But that does not mean that you could never love someone else as well.

"So it wouldn't be wrong, for instance, if you found yourself loving someone other than Yoni?"

Trapped again. "No. If the right person came along I think that Yoni would have approved. I know that if it had been the other way round and it was me that had died, I would not have wanted him to be lonely for the rest of his life if he could find comfort and fulfillment in someone else's arms. What would my love be worth if it were so exclusive, so selfish?"

"So if someone were to tell you that they loved you, it would not be impossible for you to love them back." It was more of a statement than a question. But it demanded a response, and I did the best I could.

"Love is too great for it to be impossible to direct it towards more than one person," I said. "There can be room in a loving heart for more than one love. I believe that our ability to love expands to embrace all those that we truly love. Must love be restricted to one and only one? Can love be restricted to one and only one? No, I am sure that is not the case."

"I love you, Dudu."

It came as a bombshell, right out of nowhere. I was bowled over. I was speechless. I was confused.

Nir came over and sat at my feet, holding my legs and resting his head against my knees.

"I love you, Dudu. Can you love me? If you can't I can understand. But you are so lonely, just like me. If you can love me, I will love you just as I loved - love - Oren."

I stroked the hair on his head, the soft, silky blond hair.

"Yes, Nir, I could love you. But would it be good? Would it be wise? I am much older then you."

He jumped up. "What nonsense! You are still thinking of me as a schoolboy. I am not a schoolboy. Dudu, I am now twenty-three years old. You are thirty-six. What's the big deal? The difference between 23 and 36 is hardly the same as the difference between 17 and 30."

He was right. I looked at him in the dimming light of the den. He was handsome. He was virile. He was kindly. He suffered so just like me. Something stirred within me for the first time in a very long while. It was not the first stirrings of love: I had felt love for Nir for some time now. I recognised it for what it was: it was the first stirrings of sexual excitement. I had believed that this could only happen with Yoni, but here it was after all these years - strong, demanding, imperious.

Nir pulled me to my feet. He pressed his body close to mine and clasped me in his arms. Slowly, gently, he pressed his lips against mine. Oh, that heady sweetness! My head was already reeling as his tongue began pushing at my teeth, demanding entrance. I did not have the strength to resist. Two tongues entwined, searching, exploring. Something exploded inside my head and all I could see were stars.

His hands started pulling at my shirt. I pulled away from him.

"What's the matter?" he asked. "Wasn't that as good for you as it was for me?"

"It was fantastic," I nodded.

"So what's the problem, Dudu?"

I thought for a moment. How could I tell him this? "I am embarrassed, Dudu."

Instead of laughing as I thought he would, he nodded. He went and dimmed the lights until there was just enough light to see by. He crouched down to untie his shoelaces. His buttocks were so inviting, as they displayed their luscious curves. How long could I resist? He stood up and pulled off first one sock and then the other. Now he pushed me gently into the armchair and I fell backwards into it. He took off my shoes and then took off my socks. In all this time he had not said one word.

Now he stood up and slowly, very slowly, pulled his T-shirt over his head. He was trying to seduce me! And an urgent stirring between my legs told me that he was succeeding. I know this must sound trite, but in all the time that first Oren and then Nir had lived with me I had never seen either of them naked - not even partially. This first sight of Nir's smooth chest was enticing. My eyes were riveted not only by the nipples on his breast, which were already standing out, but also by the way his waist disappeared into his trousers. He dropped his T-shirt on the floor and then stepped towards me with both hands extended. As if in a dream I took his hands and he pulled me out of the chair. He hugged me close, and I clasped him to me, feeling the warmth - no, the heat - of his body, which writhed against mine, both his hips and mine gyrating in tandem. Again his lips upon mine. Again his tongue invaded my mouth and I found myself in willing surrender. Fireworks! Explosions! Finally he pulled away as we came up for air.

He reached for the buttons of my shirt and began undoing them one by one. My feeble protest was cut short with those sumptuous lips once again planted on mine. When all the buttons were undone he pulled my shirt out of my trousers and pushed it off my shoulders. It fell to the floor. He took a step back and lay my hands on the belt of his jeans. For the first time in this seduction he spoke - whispered. "Go on, Dudu. Do it. Please."

I fumbled with his belt, unhooked the holding button and then unzipped the flies. He himself pushed his jeans over his hips to the floor, stepped out of them and kicked them away. Involuntarily my hands clasped him to me, stroking the smooth velvety skin of his back, our lips locked in mutual abandon. My senses took complete control of my actions. My hands strayed down to his waist and the tips of my fingers pushed under the elastic waistband of his briefs. My straying hands now caressed and kneaded the two curvaceous globes of his buttocks. How wonderful that feeling was.

Suddenly I became aware that his hands were active too. He was getting my trousers off just as I had done to him. I stepped back as they fell to the floor and kicked them aside. He took two or three steps back and I looked at this ravishing young man, now clad only in fire-engine red bikini briefs. Slowly, so agonizingly slowly, with his eyes riveting mine, he pushed down his briefs. I stared, speechless.

This was the first time in sixteen years that I had stared lustfully - yes, lustfully - at a naked man. Nir was absolutely gorgeous. His penis was neither big nor small, but just right - I don't know: fifteen, sixteen, seventeen centimetres. It was as hard and as erect as it could be and it stood out from his body pointing upwards. His balls looked so delicious that I wanted to touch them and feel them, but I was struck with a kind of paralysis. His genital hair was much darker than the fair hair on his head, and looked soft and curly.

He held out his hands again and I stretched my own towards his. He took hold of both my hands and gently pulled me towards the adjoining bedroom. The room was in almost complete darkness with only the dimmest of light coming in from the already dimmed lights of the den. Walking backwards, still holding my hands and my gaze, he pulled me after him until he reached the bed. He sat down on the bed and I stood before him, my hands on his head, ruffling the soft, silken hair. He lay his head against my stomach, while I fondled his hair. Then he started licking my stomach, working up towards my nipples and sucking them. During all this time neither of us had said a word. But now he asked, in a soft whisper, "Are you ready, my love?" I croaked out, "Yes, dearest one." He pulled down my underwear and I kicked the garment away. My hand was still on his head when I felt the soft touch of his hand on my penis. His fingers ran gently, softly from the base of the shaft to its tip. Excruciating pleasure.

"You feel so good, Dudu," he breathed. "Love me, Dudu. Love me like I love you."

"I love you, Nironni; indeed I do."

He fell back onto the bed and pulled me after him. I landed on top of him and our two bodies just clung together. Our lips were glued together in the wildest kiss I had ever had in my life. My dick was pressed against his stomach and I could feel his against my own. His hands were everywhere: stroking me, clawing me from my shoulders to my butt. Sweetest agony.

Our kiss continued for a long, long time. The initial delirium of sheer lust soon settled down into a gentle battle of love, a contest of lips, mouths and tongues. His lips we so full and their taste was everything that their appearance had promised. He turned his body and I fell off his, and we lay side by side, still kissing passionately. When we came up for air he leaned over and kissed first one nipple then the other, kissing and sucking. His hand stroked my chest and then one finger travelled down, across my tight stomach and down, down. The finger pulled at my genital hairs and then his hand found my balls. It felt so good. I had been missing this for so, so long.

I lay my head on his chest and his hands took hold of the back of my head, stroking my hair. In all this time we said nothing, just enjoying the feel of this physical expression of mutual love. Then I stretched out my right hand and felt for his penis, so erect, so straight. I took it between my fingers, feeling it pulsating and straining. In love I began to gently massage his manhood, up and down. His hips began to writhe and he began to moan; his breathing began to come in gasps. I started pumping faster and faster. Suddenly he lifted his buttocks from the bed and arched his body, and almost instantaneously his seed squirted forth. He pushed me on my back and lay down on top of me, kissing me furiously and passionately. When he stopped he fell back onto the bed. "Thank you, Dudu. Thank you, my beloved. I have been waiting for that for more than a year. No one has touched me since... since..." He did not finish the sentence. There was no need. Again he lay his head on my chest and I cradled his silken hair.

"In a way that was a first time for me too, Nironni," I said; "first time in sixteen long years."

He looked at me, a look of sheer love and understanding. He intuitively understood that I needed his ministrations as much as he needed mine. He slid down the bed until his face was level with my phallus. I lay back as I felt his lips kiss my erect member.

Yoni! Yoni! Do it! Do it now!

Yoni was Nironni and Nironni was Yoni and both were my beloved.

His mouth now engulfed the whole organ. It felt warm and wet as his lips began sliding up and down the shaft. His lips began sucking and milking my penis and the familiar long-forgotten sensations flooded my whole being: that rapturous and awesome paroxysm of sensual delight. My hips began to writhe and I could feel the seed surge within my innermost being. And then I erupted inside his mouth.

We spent the whole night in one long abandon of lovemaking. Nir taught me things that I had never dreamed of, and I pleasured him as best I could. Sometime during the night we took a break and wandered into the kitchen, both of us completely naked. We had a coffee and a couple of nibblies. Nir stood up. "Shall we?" he asked gallantly. I stood up, his willing slave, and he led me to his own room, where we continued to make love.

At a certain stage of the night Nir caressed my face.

"I love you, so much, Dudu. I can't tell you how much I love you. I want to be possessed by you, wholly and completely. I want to feel you inside me. I want us to experience together the ultimate expression of physical love. God will forgive us. God understands." I nodded and kissed him passionately.

He raised his legs onto my shoulders and I climbed into position. He stretched his arm out to the bedside table and handed me a tube. So that was why he had taken me back to his own room! He had planned all this from start to finish! It was not only tactical planning; it was also psychological planning. He had had the sensitivity to realise that it would be better if the first time it would be me to fuck him and not the other way round.

I lubricated his entrance-way generously using first one, then two and then three fingers. I arched myself over his body and then dropped down, feeling for the way in. I was out of practice: I had not done this in sixteen years! Nir pushed his arm between our bodies and took hold of my cock; he shifted his position slightly and expertly guided me inside. He was so hot! Burning! I could feel the heat of his bowels surrounding my penis as I pushed my way in. He pulled me down, kissing me passionately. "I love you, Dudu, I love you. Fuck me! Fuck me! Fuck me now!" His hands pressed my buttocks downwards as if to assist me, forcing my penetrative thrusts ever deeper and deeper inside him. Involuntarily, my hips began to thrust in and out of him and I could feel his hips began to gyrate against my body. That old familiar surge was beginning somewhere deep inside me, and with each thrust I felt the muscles of his passage squeezing my cock until I could no longer hold it in and my seed exploded into the depths of his being.

My exertions subsided and I collapsed on top of him. He showered me with kisses and stroked my back with his hands. "That was awesome," he exclaimed; "that was the very best!" He was so adept with his psychology that I found my self musing who was the teacher here and who the pupil!

We were now exhausted, and we fell into a deep sleep in each other's arms.


We woke late next morning. It was so wonderful waking up with a loved one beside me. We showered together and then had breakfast.

Suddenly, as if he had just made up his mind about something, Nir said over breakfast, "Dudu, will you come with me to the cemetery today?"


"Today is the first anniversary of Oren's death. I would like to visit him, but I don't want to go alone."

"Of course I'll come with you."

"And then we'll visit Yoni as well," he said.

We arrived at the cemetery and went straight to Oren's grave. I stood back and let Nir stand there alone, communing with his beloved.

"Rennie-Ren, rest easy. Beloved, fear not for me. I do not feel abandoned any more. I have found a love that will help me to accept your absence with sweet regret. I know that you approve of him. Rest easy, dearest soul. I shall never forget you, never cease loving you. There is more than enough room in my heart for both you and him. Even as I love him I love you. God bless you, dearest, sweetest soul."

Now we went to Yoni's grave.

"Yoni, beloved, you can now, at long last rest peacefully. I have found a love that will help me to accept your absence with sweet regret and wonderful happy memories and no bitterness any more. I know that you would approve of him. Rest now, dearest. I could never forget you, never cease loving you. There is more than enough room in my heart for both you and him. Even as I love him I love you. God bless you, dearest, sweetest soul."

And we went home. Home. To our home. To the home we shared together: Dudu and Nir, Nir and Dudu. We were both fulfilled.


In school there was work to be done in the office. But there was also something else in the office: my secretary, Miss tight-lipped Rikki. Rikki nearly always had a chip on her shoulder and I was always expected to know intuitively what was bothering her. Often she would come into the office first thing in the morning - at 8 am on the dot, not one second earlier and not one second later - and she would greet me with a cold "Good morning", set down her bag at her side, settle herself in her chair and boot up her workstation. On such mornings her straight back, steadfast gaze at the monitor in front of her and her icy silence all shouted out wordlessly "I am cross with you!" And this morning was one of those mornings.

"Good morning, Rikki." Tight-lipped silence. "What's wrong, Rikki?" And the oracle would speak.

"You know what's wrong!"

"Humour me: tell me what's bothering you this morning."

"You ought to know without being told..."

"I don't know, Rikki, and I don't care. Neither should you. The sun's shining, the birds are singing, God's in his heaven and all's right with the world."

She looked at me in amazement.

Yoni, are you there? Oren, are you there? Nironni and I have found love and life. We are not alone any more. Life is so precious, so good. We must get on with our lives. We have a life to live.

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