Daniel Adler on a Kibbutz

daniel adlerThere is excited chatter floating into the plane’s cabin. The three rows are filled. I hope for chicken.

When I first sat down in the terminal I met Max. He is smart, short, and Jewish, with big teeth that fit awkwardly together. He’s already raised $50,000 for his start up. He didn’t even read the book. He’s a deviant and yet he’s also kind of nerdy, my kind of guy. I gave him my most recent foray into classic literature, “The Necklace,” by Maupassant. He tapped me on the shoulder as soon as I finished reading the last sentence. He has a high voice. I like him. After we started talking, Jack, who’s Syrian, came to sit next to us. It’s interesting to think about who is going to become my friend during this trip, after meeting a half dozen men. There are some who are cool-looking who I haven’t even met yet. I guess it is all up to fate, who sits next to me at dinner, who sleeps next to me. It’s like camp. Group solidarity, don’t break the rules, you’ll get what you deserve. Brunch and dinner. Lunch you’re on your own.

I got two dollars of sleep. I missed the hot towels and we’re somewhere over Saravejo. Looking at white-peaked Balkans. There are still two and a half hours until we land. They turned on the lights because they have to serve breakfast. This flight has the most number of people standing in the aisles at any given time: men wrapping tefellin, young girls reciting prayers in their long black clothes,  chatting, standing, pretty girls, long-white-bearded men.

Chloe is so incredibly ghetto. She a redhead from Washington Heights. She closes with a dramatically concise statement. “Das not cool.” “Pathetic.” “Serious?” “Das beautiful, how y’all can bond over that. Das beautiful.” It’s crazy to me that she speaks the way she does, then again she only dates black men, older black men.

Gal and I became even better friends so that by the time we stopped in that town that I can’t even find the name of on the map we sought a hookah and went into the backarea of the mall, a desolate stretch of a third world shopping area. He directed me not to speak English so as to not get ripped off. I heeded him. We ate falafel, which was a pita filled with eggplant and fresh hummus and falafel. He said it was merely average.

I slept on the ride after that. The bus is a good place to sleep. It is interesting to watch friendships grow and decay based on one or two trivial incidents — it’s all a matter of how much you reach out, and how well you put your preconceived notions away, although most often those first judgments are the most accurate.

This morning the kibbutz smells like cow manure. The linden-like trees and the eucalyptus catch the long warm light. The sky is clear. It is a beautiful day.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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