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A Stork

It was the end of a long, frustrating day. I had just stepped off the bus. It was cold and windy; the rain stopped as I was crossing the street to the other side. I had to take another bus to get home. It was late. A bit after midnight. I was trying to remember when was the last bus. I saw someone waiting at the station so I figured the bus was still operating. It had been a while since I last took the bus. I had left my car at the garage that morning and completely forgot about it. It only hit me at around eleven thirty as I was searching for my car keys. It had been a busy day and I was tired. I leaned against a sign, far from the road to avoid being splashed by passing cars. But no car passed, and the street was quiet and empty.

It was only after 20 minutes that I noticed her. She had been standing behind me all that time. I just happened to turn around and catch her eye. She was wearing a black raincoat and holding a large umbrella. She seemed young, about my age, but I couldn't really tell. I smiled at her. Strange - I was preoccupied and weary, and yet there was something about her that made me smile as soon as our eyes met.

"Do you think the bus operates at this time?" she asked. "I don't really know. How long have you been waiting here?" I asked. "Forty minutes already. I'll wait for a little while; if it doesn't come I'll take a cab." She was standing a bit closer now. "Are you working around here?" I asked her. "No, I came for the opening night at the gallery in King George Street. I have a painting on display." "Just one?" - "Yes, a friend of mine knows the owner of the gallery and he agreed to put one of my paintings on display." She had the sweetest voice. "What's on the painting?" I asked her, "A stork". "Just a stork?" "Yeah, a stork. Just a stork." she smiled. "You mean a symbol of fertility, carrying babies and such?" "No, a simple stork. You see - I think I'm very much like a stork. Long neck, white feathers. Wondering to far away places with every changing season. A symbol of my life." I laughed and she asked "Well, you never wondered which animal you're like?."

I never had the chance to answer. An old cab just drove up the small street and she stepped down and stopped it. "See you," I said. She just smiled and entered the cab.

30 minutes later I called a friend and asked him to pick me up...

Every now and then this nocturnal encounter comes to mind. Not just when I see a stork (you don't get to see too many anyhow) but usually when I happen to pass by that small street near the center of Tel Aviv. I wish we had had the chance to continue our conversation. It was different. You can spend years with people and never hear anything deep and thoughtful. She got to it right away. I still don't know what would have been my answer. What animal I can relate to. I don't know much about animals. And probably not much more about myself.

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