Wendy Brown-Baez - Catch a Dream coming soon
Wendy Brown-Baez - words to light our way

Catch a Dream:
A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil.

In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep? 


I enter her in sackcloth and ashes. Literally ashes. I disembark with my hand covered in ashes. I searched the garbage can for my boarding pass, without which they won’t let me off the ferry boat. As the boat swung into the harbor, my own hand betrayed me. I cleaned stale bread and warm cheese off the table, sweeping up the boarding pass along with apple cores and cigarette stubs, tossing everything nonchalantly into the garbage can.  My eyes misted over as the engines steered us towards land: Holy Land, the Promised Land. My inner state of jubilation was tinged with anxiety. I was not paying attention to anything else.

I am not Jewish but I caught a yearning to be in the Holy Land from books. The Diary of Anne Frank and Night by Elie Wiesel opened my mind to the horrors of the Holocaust. Later, the works of Chaim Potok, Sholom Aleichem, and I.L. Peretz gave me a window into Jewish culture. And then I discovered Golda Meir and Menachen Begin’s autobiographies. I tried to imagine the mountains of Judea, the Sea of Galilee, the gates of Jerusalem, and the self-sacrificing work of the pioneers to coax the land back to life. Something about the fight for freedom, the struggle to return to the Jewish homeland started a blaze in me. Maybe because I felt rootless. Drifting from one place to the next, without a destination or a sense of my own heritage. So I adopted the Jewish one and set sail for the Holy Land.  


Shlomo, Orit, Zvi, and I walk into the darkened, noisy, smoky bar and instantly our eyes meet. It is worth all the anguish, the tears, the lonely nights to see that expression on your face. You immediately turn to hide it from me. But I have seen with my inner knowing of you, with my ability to feel you. I am so shook, I can not think. Zvi asks what I want to drink while they guide me to a table off the tiny dance floor.  The place is crammed with people, the dance floor jammed with people pressed against each other and yet keeping rhythm to the music which is exceptionally loud. We weren’t supposed to be here tonight. We had planned to go to a party. Our procrastination led to our driver backing out. I gulp back the Goldstar. Zvi is talking directly into my ear. You are right behind us and I feel your every movement. You are watching me, watching my every movement, waiting. Zvi invites me to dance. I know you are wondering who this man is that I am with, and that part of the reason you haven’t left is that your jealousy has flared into heat. You don’t want me but certainly you don’t want anyone else to have me. How do I know this? I know you, you come from within me. You are the echo of my self, my shadow self, the dark that calls to dark and allows demons to tread where the angel is not strong enough to fight them off.  I can see you from the corner of my eye. You sit at an angle so that it is not obvious that you are watching me. But I see lust on your face. You are waiting for me to come to you and you know I will. You wait for me to come to you because you are ashamed of your need of me. You are ashamed that your passion is rising like a helpless animal instinct and that you aren’t in control of yourself, your precious control of every situation. You are ashamed that I have answered your passion with my own, that you make me say I love you, that your sperm spilling inside me takes you to your knees with gratitude. You can not bear the love you feel, your vulnerability. So you wait for me to give myself to you. You pretend that you didn’t have anything to do with it.

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