The nights in Bet’Hativka are hot and go on forever.
In them, Dina feels that she is suffocating- more so than usual. As if she is the only one alive and breathing in this soupy darkness.
It is like a slow death, to lay in her bed unmoving, while time streams by outside. Sometimes she gets up, wanders her apartment, down the hallway, past the bathroom, to the kitchen and living room. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
She opens the refrigerator, the harsh white light spilling out of it, looking at its contents- does she want watermelon? Wine? The machine produces a little hum of white noise- but not enough to drown out the silence.
Dina wants to sleep, to black out for a few comfortable hours, not to have to think. What does she feel? Numb. She is sinking in a sea of darkness and heat.
Everything is so still and she can feel her heart beating on and on.
What has she done with her life? Dina asks herself in these hours. Who will remember her? No children, no husband. No companion. Why couldn’t life have taken her somewhere else? To dance on stage in a big city, or out of Israel entirely, across the seas to America?
Unlike the lonely young man at the telephone booth, she has no one to call. She thinks of Sami on these nights, picking again and again at the wound their brief and accidental affair has left. Dina is angry at him, she is angry that things could not have worked out. Why can’t something in her life go right? Why isn’t it possible for her to be happy?
She lays there, looking at the glowing green time on her clock radio. Midnight will pass, and then on into the small hours of a new day. Somewhere, far from here, a train passes. It speeds past her tiny town, onwards.
After hours of trying to put herself to sleep, her mind has run out of thoughts, and feels like a blank cassette, the wheels spinning length of empty tape.
She is awake in the deep hours of the night: those when it will not be dawn for many more hours, but when the streetlights have already turned themselves off.
Here the whole world is dark and silent, too late for night revelers returning home, and too early for those rising for work.
The sun and moon and stars are gone, and what’s left is only her.
When Dina does sleep, she imagines herself dancing in a desert wasteland, towards a mirage of an oasis that she cannot reach before morning.