In the mood for a Real, Honest-to-Hashem Love Story?
Something that does not end with the phrase, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry?”
Something, for that matter, that does not end in disappointment and loneliness? Or worse: Penury and woe?
I mean, something with teeth. Preferably involving the Shoah? Because I don’t know about you but I love a good Holocaust love story.
“Well, I was 24 and went to America to work as an au pair,” my representative of a Real Honest-to-Hashem Love Story tells me, with no regard for the Holocaust.
This was in the mid-‘90s, back when a fresh-faced, very tall Bill Clinton rose seemingly out of nowhere, much to delight of young liberals like myself.
But I digress. Let us return to the first visit to the United States of our Israeli heroine, who on one of her days off, hurried to catch the train from Long Island to Manhattan to meet up with her girlfriends.
It was a very cold winter day and as she waited for the train, a young man burst through the doors, a real “chatich,” as they say in Hebrew, decked out in a nice pair of sunglasses.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. Which is another way of saying, “cute” was the understatement of the century.
But wait. Our heroine experienced a temporary setback as she watched her Romeo checking out a sexy woman at the station — a sexy woman who was decidedly not our heroine.
Nonetheless, once the train arrived, the sexy competitor faded away as our heroine once again took center stage, or if not center stage then still somewhere within eye shot of the object of her affection. Which is another way of saying, she spent the ride happily spying on him through the reflection in his window.
Her heart swelled with love.
As they switched trains in Jamaica, she caught his eye and smiled. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not even a feeble grin in return.
But did our heroine despair? No she did not.
Because things picked up on the train into the city when our Romeo seated himself right next to her!
Later they would argue about this, with him saying the train was crowded and he had no choice but to sit next to her, while she claimed the train was empty and he chose to sit by her side.
No matter. They did not speak. Not that our heroine didn’t want to talk to him. She did. Oh, she did. But what to say?
Instead, she pulled out a book in Hebrew since she is, um, Israeli. And wouldn’t you know it but our Romeo is also Israeli. A coincidence? Pre-ordained?
In any event, he didn’t comment on her book and at least at that moment, was oblivious to their destiny together.
At Penn Station she found her girlfriends, some of whom were Israeli.
“You won’t believe what a hottie I sat next to on the train in!” she gushed.
Just then the hottie himself appeared.
“There he is!” she gasped.
And wouldn’t you know it but two of her girlfriends actually knew him from Israel and called out his name. (A coincidence? Pre-ordained?)
After he joined the circle of women, our heroine said to him rather coquettishly, “I was just saying that a hottie sat next to me on the train.”
Boy did our Romeo blush!
Naturally, he joined the ladies for brunch where it was revealed that both he and our heroine were headed to Los Angeles. (Coincidence? Pre-ordained?)
They exchanged numbers and the two spent a lovely week together in L.A., enjoying the sites. (For the curious: She called him first.)
But then he bid her adieu and went back to Israel to serve in the Lebanon War.
This is when the story really makes one believe in a higher power because while at a grocery store in L.A., our heroine happened to glance at an Israeli newspaper and there on the front page she saw her beloved with the caption that he had been seriously wounded in the war.
What can I tell you people?
In the end, she cut her visit short, returned to Israel — despite her mother’s protestations — and as my favorite character once said, “Reader, I married that man.”
Now, 16 years and four children later, she’s still as happy with him as on the day she spotted him on the Long Island Railroad.
“I can still say with all my heart that I love my husband. He’s still gorgeous, he still makes me laugh, he’s the father of our children and he’s my very good friend.”
As I wipe away my tears, whether for her good fortune or my own misfortune I am not sure, all I can say is, if that’s not a good love story, what is?
Abigail Pickus is a writer living in Israel. Her “Matchup” column appears the first week of the month. Follow her blog “Abigail in Love (Maybe)” on The Jewish Week’s website, www.thejewishweek.com
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