Engineered paradise designed for the comfort and peaceful slumber of the more seasoned Hebronites.
The man was tired. Seventy years had chalked lines into his sagging face, giving it the semblance of the many drawn and redrawn political maps of Hebron. All the divisions of walls, prohibited roads, barriers, and checkpoints across the city seemed to be etched into his creased skin. This day was still the same as the last. Politicians had come and gone, political and public safety announcements cycled through different forums, manifestations of violence had advanced with more effective weaponry, but that constant, known feeling of thick helplessness hung in Hebron’s air. The familiar weight bore down on him again this morning.
She woke up tired again this morning. Her lips cracked and dry, she reached for her water glass. The half-empty cup hardly satisfied her morning thirst. The consistent ritual of morning rinse and purge by water gave her little respite from the insatiable thirst. She filled her cup in the kitchen sink and drank deeply through choked breaths. Hebron’s water spilled down her throat, but the familiar, tired thirst remained. The man stopped for tea from the vendor at the corner. His heart sped and his eyes fluttered open, but his body still shrugged along the cobblestone teeming with empty, resound exhaustion. He walked towards the fence that had divided his experience across years of fitful sleep and groggy mornings.
She bought a juice from the baker’s daughter. Her hand trembled as she grasped her curled wooden can and slowly shuffled across the sidewalk towards the fence. A droplet of nectar dripped from her folded chin as she deliberately sucked it down. This was temporal satisfaction, a familiar feeling she knew would soon wax as the aged thirst crept back inside.
The man and the woman simultaneously reached the Center, a rounded building with soft glazed edges that wrapped around its unusual shape. They arrived through their respective walkway entrances at the same time. They saw each other from across the open space. She had entered from the east side, he the west. Their glazed eyes stared onto one another, and though they both knew they had never previously met, a flicker of recognizance fluttered across the room. The presence of the other was like the reflection of a familiar mirror, the accumulated weight of tired mornings and unquenched thirst for a different start, staring back across the naturally lit space. The softly cushioned recliners spread themselves out like a constellation around a magnificent fountain in the middle of the space. They measuredly walked towards the center and each other. He carefully lowered himself into the chair while she cupped her hands into the clear water. She drank while he patiently watched. She walked around the fountain and sat into the deep cushions in a chair near him. She nodded and he smiled, before they both closed their eyes in empathetic rest.