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Look for Me

Look for Me by Edeet Ravel
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Look for Me tells the story of Dana and her quest to find her husband who disappeared while serving in the Israeli army. Every year Dana places a newspaper ad that says, "I will never ever, ever stop waiting for you," the word "ever" repeated so that it fills the entire page. She gives interviews hoping her husband will contact her. She knows for a fact that he is alive ...

In the midst of curfews, demonstrations, and confrontations with the police, Dana falls in love with another man -- just as she learns her husband’s whereabouts. Will she forget the past and follow her heart with a new love, or face the dangers involved in setting out to find the man she has sought for eleven years?

HarperCollins; May 2009
320 pages; ISBN 9780061932090
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Title: Look for Me
Author: Edeet Ravel

Chapter One

I woke up and didn't know where I was. This happens to me frequently: I emerge in stages from a deep sleep and I can't remember what time of day it is, or what life I'm living. Am I in my parents' seven-room flat in the desert, waking to a breakfast of rolls and butter and nine percent cheese or living with neighbors who are tiptoeing around my sofa be so as not to disturb me, or in my army cot, facing a day of cleaning toilets because I'm in trouble with my sergeant again Or have I woken in some altogether unknown place, where people wear black capes, say, and hop from place to place instead of walking?

This process of relocating myself never lasts more than a few seconds. I knew where I was: the bedroom of our U-shaped flat near the sea. It was Saturday morning, the beginning of September, and I had a demonstration to photograph in Mejwan. Odelia was coming at eight-thirty to collect me.

I sat up in bed. When my husband lived with me I'd wear one of his T-shirts to sleep, but after he vanished I started sleeping naked. I wanted to feel closer to him, wherever he was; if he came during the night I would be prepared. It was just a fantasy, of course. I knew Daniel would not appear suddenly at the stroke of midnight, the way some of the characters in my novels liked to do.

I slipped on my bathrobe and raised the blackout shutters. Bright sunlight flooded the room and settled on the dusty heartshaped leaves of my climbing plants. "Leaves deserve to be noticed," Daniel had said, cryptically at first, when he painted one of the bedroom walls black. He hung a mirror in the center; and arranged the plants so they framed the mirror and spread outward until they covered the entire wall, heart-shaped green against night-black, our own reflection peeping at us from the midst of a leafy jungle.

I put on the kettle and while I waited for the water to boil I wrote down a dream I'd had in a notebook I kept for that purpose. I'd decorated the notebook with a color printout of Raphael's Madonna with the Fish, which seemed somehow appropriate. I began recording my dreams when I was fourteen and my mother died in a traffic accident. For several weeks she came to life each night as I slept, and in the morning I would try to recapture our nocturnal encounters so I could relive the experience, and also because I wanted to understand the dreams, which were often perplexing. In one she was riding on a seashell and she called out, "Don't forget Lord Kitchener!" In another she told me to wash my hair in a kneeling position, never while standing.

This morning, just before waking, I dreamed that I was at the Munjed checkpoint, a checkpoint I'd photographed a few times. I was climbing the watchtower to get a better angle, and the border guards were telling me to watch out for electric wires. I wondered whether they were afraid they'd be blamed if I was electrocuted, or whether they really were worried about me. I tried to find a good angle for my photograph, but realized it was hopeless because there were seven thousand Palestinians below, lined up and waiting for their IDs, which had been confiscated. I called down to the guards, "How come you've detained so many today?" and they answered, "It's the drugs we've taken, they multiply everything seven thousand times." I tried to figure out how their hallucinations could affect my own vision, and the effort to introduce waking-life logic into the dream woke me.


I left the army to marry my husband. He was the lead singer of the band at my cousin's wedding and I could not take my eyes off him: his dark brown hair and David Bowie eyes, that smile of his as he sang. It was an extravagant wedding at one of the most ritzy halls in the country-my aunt and uncle were wealthy, and their daughter was spoiled. The small, laid-back band was noticeably out of place in this gilded setting: three musicians perched on a little wooden platform, all wearing jeans, short-sleeved white shirts, and black vests. One of the musicians was a multitalented albino with shoulder-length white hair; he played drums, sax, and keyboard. The other was chubby, with raisin eyes and sweet dimples, and the confidence to shake and bounce about as he strummed his guitar.

There was dancing at the wedding, of course, but the band didn't follow the standard wedding repertoire. No zesty religious chants, no inspirational nationalist classics, none of the traditional tunes that were considered a must at any celebration. Instead, Daniel sang contemporary songs about waking up in the middle of the night with a feeling of dread, or going to airports to watch planes taking off. He sang my favorite song at the time, "Seer, Go Flee." When he came to those words I knew I had to have him. Seer, go flee. For there is no mercy in this city, and no place to hide. Seer, go flee.

I waited until the band began to fold up and then shyly approached him. I didn't want to say anything in front of the other two musicians, but I knew that if I didn't speak up they'd all be gone in a matter of minutes, leaving me alone in the empty auditorium.

Daniel looked at me. He seemed amused for some reason, maybe because of the contrast between my uniform and the confused, unsoldierly way I was standing next to the platform. "Can I help you with something?" he asked.

"I was wondering ..."

But now all three performers were looking at me.

"It's private," I said.

"Oh, private." Daniel smiled. He stepped down from the platform and walked away from the others. "Well?" he said ...

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