A TRUE SHORT STORY
THE TRIP THAT CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER
INDULGE me and let me take you back in time to July 1993, where Jerusalem was steamy hot and swarming with avid tourists. I was a new bride reluctant to leave my svelte groom for a fortnight, but mother’s invitation to join her pilgrimage group was irresistible and a dream come true emerged. Thankfully, the political situation was benign and we were enamored by all the holy sites, especially this one gate leading into the old city. We had just stepped off the bus from visiting the desert ruins of Massah and Meribah, the scent of cilantro still tickling my nostrils while munching on a bunch of plump fresh figs. Our tour guide was describing the history of this particular gate, the one where livestock entered the trade market for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Taking in this ancient view slowed my pace as I lagged behind the group, when suddenly I was grabbed by the arm, looking up, a giant man faced me, he seemed to tower 8 feet into the air, my body froze with a swallowing fear like a heart attack coming on, I tussled away from his ugliness and body full of pussy scabs, screaming mad as our guide ran to my rescue. He hugged my trembling and explained that this incident was a common hoax while I thought all along the giant was a leper begging for money…in the pit of my stomach, I felt the anguish of refusing to help a sick beggar and offending God at this eerie moment. I ran through that gate without looking back and regained my composure grabbing for my mother’s hand.
The stark tug of war that the giant triggered in me during that repulsively strange encounter resurfaces still today whenever a beggar approaches me.
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