Moving the Sun – the play

(Tentative title)

By: Tarin Shalfy

Dramaturgy and direction: Hanan Yishai

Translated by Ofer Neiman

  1. Prologue

(Lights. Tarin walks in, thinking how to start the performance)


OK, it starts like this.  stage lights. Tarin is sitting in the corner, hugging a bag of chemo, and singing “It’s a Wonderful Life”.Yes. No.

No. No no no no. Like that: Stage lights. Just a bag of chemo, and the song ‘It’s a wonderful world’ is playing from backstage.

And then – I go on stage with a wig. Without a wig, without a wig. With a bald cap on top of a wig sitting on my original bald head. And…

No! I’m sorry, I’m not doing this. This material is lame and pathetic. I can’t perform this. There’s no conflict here, no drama. It’s not…It’s not gonna work. Who cares about a bag of chemo?

And what’s Louis Armstrong got to do with a wig? It’s not good. It’s just… It’s me standing naked on a stage and people I don’t know look into my cancer.

2. Welcome to the Desert of the Real

(Tarin puts a wig on her head)

We’re one month after the operation, the pathology results are in, and Dr. Simchov asked us to come and see him. We went up the stairs: Udi – my boyfriend, my mom and me, until we were right outside the Dr. Simchov’s room. I was just pressed to get back to school in time. But my mom was distressed…Because she’s my mom. And Udi was distressed…because my mom…the PA system finally announced our number.

We got up and walked into the room.

Dr. Simchov asked, “How are you?” and smiled…We did not.

“OK”, he said and opened my file on the computer. “So…”, “the final pathology results are in, and unfortunately they’re not good”. “The tumor was malignant, a cancerous tumor”.

Oh! That’s a great scene. I mean, there’s so much to work with. There’s drama here – the protagonist receives news,  

The protagonist receives news, Very bad tidings. And now she has to overcome all those feelings and emotions overwhelming her. And after Dr. Simchov utters the word ‘cancer’, the protagonist’s eyes shine bright all of a sudden, and her breath quickens. 

“Does that mean I’m…I’m sick?”

Silence in the room. Dr. Simchov looks at her, and he too can’t find the words. He just nods slightly. 

“It’s not true, It’s not true, please tell me It’s not true”.

It’s not true. Absolutely not true. Because even though it could have been a great, heartbreaking, tear-jerking scene. I just nodded .. a measured nod and an awkward nibble of my right fingernail. 

“Well, so what now?”

Before Dr. Simchov could utter a word, the rainstorm broke out. My mother started raining down a shower of questions on himץ Shower? More like a flood!

“Just a moment!… I wanna get this right  – what does it mean? What does it mean? The cancer is active? How can you tell? And what about treatments? chemotherapy? radiation? surgery? What about biological drugs? hematology? Is Keytruda treatment appropriate here? And in general, what about less conventional medicine ? What do you think about acupuncture ?! Have you heard of Fragrant Oxeye flower treatment? – “

Udi felt like this shower of questions was drowning him, until he could no longer take it:

“How about we let the doctor speak for a moment, instead of asking him questions about Fragrant Oxeye?!”

And I just kept shaking my head in between them, and biting my nail.

Dr. Simchov interrupted them and said:

“I don’t really know much about all this. Not just acupuncture, cancer in general. I’m…just a gynecologist. But from now on, you’ll be under the supervision of Professor Kowalski from the oncology department. He’s a leader in his field in Israel. You’re in good hands. I’ll be here for any question of course. As I already explained …I…can no longer help you.”

The room went silent once again. Even my mom couldn’t find a question to ask. She and Udi just sat there silently. Dr. Simchov continued to read us the pathology report, and I … I didn’t feel anything.

Nothing? What the heck? All this drama and I…nothing ?! Where’s the crying? The shouting? What is this character all about?!

OK, let’s start over. I’m Tarin. I’m 23. An Actress, I mean I’m a cancer student… acting! Acting student! Yes! Cancer is just something I do now… in my spare time. I mean, at the moment I have a whole lot of free time during the treatments, to be hmmmm…yes.

3. Sophocles, The Complete Plays

(Rearranges the stage: moves table aside, moves armchair forward… – reconstructs her living room)

Since cancer’s arrival, me and my relationship with my mom has become malignant.

We’ve always been close, after all we’re a single-parent family. But this past year, I’ve been able to really see through her worries. I see how important I am to her, how much she loves me. And how much I love her. And sometimes it feels like we’re both walking around the world, still connected by an umbilical cord which has yet to be cut. And maybe because of that, whenever my mom calls, I know it’s her. The ringtone sounds different to me. Maybe it’s because we’re so strongly connected.

Maybe. And maybe it’s because even my phone is exhausted from this relationship, and it’s telling me:

“Again ?! Didn’t you speak just a few minutes ago? Urgh …” 

(plays the ringtone slowly and reluctantly).

Less than twenty minutes after we got back from the hospital, my phone rang. My Mom.

“What’s up”.

“How are you??” Antigone asked me on the other side of the line.

“Ahh … well. I’m … okay” (I replied unconvincingly).

“Okay…Say …” There! I immediately felt that something was about to come after this cautious “Say”.

“Yes?”, I asked, hesitantly.

 “How about you and I go…to Kibbutz Tuval?”

“What is there in Kibbutz Tuval?” So  I shouldn’t have been so skeptical. Perhaps my mom is merely proposing, a mother-daughter fun day.

“So, there’s a naturopath named Adam Even-Tzur. He has a great reputation among the ‘cancer community’, and he treats people with an anti-cancer diet and green smoothies and wheatgrass, and he has this motto – ‘Everyone should grow their own sprouts’. ” 

Besides, he treated many people, you remember Naomi’s daughter, from the accounting department, so her cousin…I was at her wedding…well … she already had metastases and all that … in fact she’s no longer with us. But he helped her a lot, and in any case, the view is so beautiful there, everything is green and everything is vegan of course and I think we should…”

“Why are you telling me this?”

 “What do you mean, Tarin, you know, I -”

  “No no, you don’t understand. I don’t care about this. I don’t care about green juices and I don’t care about wheatgrass and some hippie who sprouts broccoli in his spare time. And I don’t belong to any ‘cancer community’ either! And how come you know all these things? When did you manage to find this out?! We came back less than an hour ago. Everything happened less than an hour ago. Don’t you understand? Don’t you understand that I still don’t understand? Don’t you understand that I’m not interested in this rabbit food?! As far as I’m concerned, less than an hour ago I still had no cancer”.

Everything spilled out of my mouth, like vomit. These poisonous arrows I shot at her were my tears. I hung up livid and sat down on the couch. My cheeks were burning. Why is she doing this to me? Why does she always pull me into her tragedies? Udi overheard the entire conversation and began to blow steam.

“Why is she telling you these things? Why does she think that’s what you wanna hear now? She always does thןד to you.” I saw my Disney prince heat up and turn red. 

“Next time don’t… just don’t answer the phone! Ugh she’s so …” He started pacing back and forth along our living room. Which isn’t big at all, so he just kept walking one step to the right and then one step to the left.

Suddenly I was mad at Udi for being mad. Why was he suddenly mad at my mom, by what right? I’m the only one who’s allowed to be mad at her. I felt a strong need to protect her, even if I didn’t know exactly why. Udi continued to pace, a step to the right and a step to the left. He was shouting and waving his hands. Now he was a walking tragedy. I felt everything getting mixed up. I tried to calm down but I couldn’t. I was angry. But I didn’t know whom I was angry at, and why. I didn’t know which plot I wanted to be in now. I felt the two plots blending into each other and demolishing each other. My mom’s Greek tragedy was slowly seeping, without permission, into me and Udi’s Disney tale. Udi kept going. Suddenly I saw the Greek chorus from my mother’s tragedy. And here they are, led by the head of the chorus who looked so much like Dr. Simcov. And all of a sudden – the chorus began to recite:

“Oh behold, sons and daughters of Thebes!, behold – between Tarinthos the miserable from Corinthos, and her mother, the prophet, winds of discontent have risen. And what shall become of this pair? Will the daughter be wise enough to cease this revolt? Oh, Gods, who shall know how to treat a father or mother, when wheatgrass juice washes their brains?” 

Everyone goes quiet all of a sudden, because my mom goes on stage. I was shocked, because she was wearing a long white Toga. I had never seen my mom wearing white, instead of her everyday black outfit.

“Oh, my daughter, my eldest daughter! Such bad tidings have befallen us! So dire and sad is our fate.”

And before I can say anything, Udi comes in on a flying carpet, wearing loose Aladdin pants, (which fit him quite nicely), and a small Tarboosh on his head.

“My loved one, my only one, please do not lend an ear to your mother.

Please give me your hand,I’ll take you wonder by wonder.”

“Oh, my daughter, my daughter…”. My mom kept going, and the chorus went along with her. 

My mom tried to drown him out and the chorus behind her went on: “Only with your mother shall you go”, but Aladudi didn’t care, and he continued “A new world! To us both will be revealed”. “Oh cruel fate”, my mom went down on her knees. “Cruel cruel” the chorus thundered.

Can you feel the love tonight!

“Quiet!!!” Everyone stopped and looked at me. “Get lost now, all of you. You, go eat some souvlaki. And you – who are you fooling as if you’re some exotic prince from Iraq? You’re a white Ashkenazi who likes Gefilte-fish. Roll up your rug and fly away!” 

“Tarin, Tarin, are you with me? Are you listening to me?” Udi asked, I looked at him and saw that he was wearing his jeans again. The chorus and Dr. Simchov were gone.

“Yes, I’m with you.” 

“So what do you think?” 

“That you’re a terrible singer, I would use playback if I were you.”

4 . The Baldness with a Soprano

(Puts on a beanie)

A few days later, I arrived at the hospital for an imaging session and a meeting with Professor Kowalski. We went up to the 8th floor. There was a large sign at the entrance that read “Oncology,” in large, clear letters, black on white. In fact, the letters were not just written on the big sign. It whispered the letters, slow and cold:


Thank you very much, dear sign, thank you for caring so much about me and reminding me, just in case I forgot, which clinic I came to…

We walked on to the secretary’s office. I received unreasonable amounts of forms and started filling them out. But then, something caught my attention. I couldn’t go on. A mesmerizing figure was sitting on one of the gray couches. I was paralyzed at the sight of her. Thisr figure would be deeply engraved in the history books of the mind. There, on the small couch, on the 8th floor, a bald head was sitting. And from the moment I noticed her/it, צריך להחליט על הפרשנות -האשה כולה או הקרחת בלבד I couldn’t stop looking, because she was so, so, frightening. The sign at the entrance? It was absolutely nothing compared to this bald head. It was shining proudly under the strong fluorescents, smiling at me.

“what?” Have you never seen a bald head? “

“I have .. I have .. but I’ve never seen one like you.”

“Honey, you don’t see a bald head like me every day, there’s no one like me. Men go crazy over me, they say their baldness – can’t hold a candle to mine… I am the smoothest, most pleasant, most amazing. What do you say? Wanna touch?”.

It felt as if there was a huge magnet between us. I started walking toward this bald head.

“Come to me .. Come to me”.

“I’m coming … I’m coming.. I’m coming .. I – “

“Are you coming, Tarini? It’s our turn.”

“Yes, yes I’m coming “

We walked toward Professor Kowalski’s office. Just before we entered, I turned around to take one last look at the bald head. Suddenly, it turned around, revealing its back to me. A small face appeared. It smiled at me and said, “Good luck”. 

“Thank you ..” 

Then the bald head turned once more and said: “See you soon…”.

What? Bald heads can speak? Are we going too far here? No! I know I’m on, like, 80 grams of medical [grass] a month, but still…there’s too much decor, and it’s too theatrical. Need something a little… a little less .. abstract.

5. Introduction to biology (1)

(Again: a desk and a chair, Professor Kowalski’s office) 

We arrived at Professor Kowalski’s office, considerably apprehensive. I was sitting between my two bodyguards. To my right – the walking tragedy, the Polish Antigone. And to my left – AladUdi. Professor Kowalski raised his head and looked at me through his glasses. “Tell me”, he began to speak, “Why did you come here?” 

“You know, I was just passing by and I saw you had an espresso machine in the office so I told myself I had to go in.

I laughed. Professor Kowalski did not, nor did my mom. Udi tried to smile, there was a kind of twitch on the side of his mouth that seemed more like a stroke, but he still supported me as much as he could. I started telling Professor Kowalski about everything. I already knew this monologue pretty well, I know the text by heart. Professor Kowalski listened, nodded, and then asked all sorts of relevant and very uninteresting questions, but then he asked:

“And what about a family history of illness?” 

“No…I know Uncle Haim, my mom’s uncle had cancer and a cat. When he died, the cat moved in with us. I hope he didn’t transmit the cancer to us .” 

This time my mom actually smiled. Professor Kowalski let out a forced laugh. 

“An uncle is a distant family relation. I’m just making sure there’s no grandparent or one of the parents who ever got it.” 

“No”. I answered confidently. Then my mom said:

“Oh, on the father’s side, both parents had cancer. But he’s just the biological father. We’re not in touch with him whatsoever.” 

What’s up now, Antigone?! Are we switching to Oedipus?! 

I sat there stunned. Udi looked at me, asking for translation from ancient Greek. 

“I … I think that’s what interests him. Biology. In general, the whole biological aspect interests him …” 

Professor Kowalski wrote it down on his computer with a stern face.

“Now let’s look at the results of the test you did and see what’s going on there.” 

Two heavyweight contestants have entered this tense ring. On one corner, Professor Kowalski and the test results. And on the other corner, my newborn dad. Professor Kowalski began to click the mouse, then typed a few letters on the keyboard with one finger. 

“Say, he… Does he even know I exist? My dad?” – לא ברור לי אם צריך מרכאות או שזה הגיג 

Professor Kowalski cleared his throat, stopped to look at something in the results, and then continued to scroll the mouse, 

“Is there anything else you wanna to tell me now? Maybe I also have brothers who died of cancer? Sisters? Pets?”  אותה הערה 

Professor Kowalski slowed down even more and did his best to screech with the black mouse wheel. Like, this deep creepy screech. 

“I don’t understand. How come the first gift I get in my whole life from my dad is cancer? What’s wrong with a teddy bear? Or a cuddly blanket? Once again, Professor Kowalski pauses, and again he looks at something. And again… 

“Tarin what? Is something wrong?…” 

Professor Kowalski looks up from the screen 

“You! Something’s wrong with you!”      לא ברור מי אומר את זה

He looks at me through his glasses. 

“Tarin, I just recalled, because the doctor asked. That’s all …” 

“That’s all?!” 

“Well, if you can focus for a moment. From what the test shows, it seems that … the tumor you had has metastasized to the lungs…” 

Wait a minute, wait, stop, pause, cut, curtain. What’s going on? I have to point out that the quality of writing here is very low. I appreciate the effort, but what’s going on? What’s all this drama all of a sudden? I’m sorry but no one talked to me about these plot twists. And that’s really, really wrong. I really don’t work like that. I prepared according to a certain script, I sat down to work, I studied the text, and I came prepared like a professional. But that’s really not what I prepared for, and that’s not right. Why this metastasis? And what’s that with this dad who suddenly appeared without any preparation? Why out of the blue? Why did no one notify me? Why did no one ask if it was OK with me? Maybe it’s not OK with me?! Maybe I disagree?! I wanna know whom I can turn to if I don’t like the story of my life. Whom do you turn to? To whom do you talk?!

(Tarin brings the chair to the front of the stage, and sits on it) 

In the car, on the way home, something strange happened – I was silent. Udi was surprised. He didn’t really know how to deal with this new thing. But then he realized that he did know. He recalled that once, three years ago, we went on a trip together for the first time. Back then we had only been a few months in this relationship, and neither of us had said “…..” yet. None of us had been able to. And when evening came, after we had dinner and watched a bad movie, we were lying in bed, and suddenly I fell silent. I fell silent because I felt like I could no longer think, like I couldn’t open my mouth and utter words, like I forgot how to speak. I knew that if I opened my mouth, the only sentence that would come out would be that one. That scary sentence that when you say it, it burns your tongue and stabs you in the stomach .. and even though my silence was so strange to him, and unclear, Udi wasn’t frightened. He kept silent with me as much as I needed to. And when it felt right to him, without too much preparation, he just said. “You know I love you, right?” The words that came out of his mouth were so light, but when they landed on my chest they were so heavy. I saw nothing, because my eyes swelled up with tears.

I turned to look at him. And I thought, “I love you too, I love you like I’ve never loved, my heart explodes every moment anew as I realize again and again that you’re everything to me.” Those were the words in my head, and when I opened my mouth to say them, all that came out was: “Ahhhh.” Something was wrong with the pipes, water was splashing all over. Udi wiped himself and laughed. 

“I ….. ahhh …Yes?”, he asked, smiling. 

“I love you so much, Argh, I’ve been in love with you for so long, from the first moment I saw you, and kept saying ‘wow I’m in love with him’, but I didn’t know how to tell you, and I wanted, I wanted to say it but I couldn’t, I couldn’t get the words out because I just. I didn’t know how to tell you this …I wanted to tell you that I just – love you.” 

We’ve pulled the plug, we’ve unclogged the pipes , Now you can pay the plumber and start reusing the piping.

That’s how it was, and even though it had been a long time before, on this car ride Udi once again knew exactly what to do. He kept silent with me and waited. Then, as I lifted my hollow, cold gaze, our eyes met in the rearview mirror. 

“I love you. You know. Right?”

 I wanted to open my mouth and say something to him. Even if it was just “Ahhhh”. But my character ran out of words. She had no more lines in this scene. Not even stage directions. Nothing.

6. The Rite of Spring

(Removes the furniture from the stage) 

In the weeks that followed, I gave in to my mom’s pleas and agreed to explore the alternatives. I found myself running around town and out of town, meeting “special people.” Every weirdo I met assured me that they knew, that they understood, and that they could perform miracles. There was the healer who put me inside an imaginary Star of David, and began clearing my tumor with flicks of her wrist  של המרפאת, כן?. There was this oncologist from the vitamin C treatment clinic, a place with the magical aura of spoiled orange juice. And the innovative treatment of cannabis oil drips, and the dog-walker who communicates with entities, and naturopaths and alternative charlatans and Facebook status-writers, and truly…the cream of the crop.

All this went on until the second opinion meeting with Dr. Michaela Raz. On the day of the meeting, my mom and I arranged to meet at four o’clock at the intersection of Weizmann Street and King David Boulevard to take the bus from there. It was already the end of April, spring. The boulevard was so green, and dotted with flowers in shades of orange. Perhaps there was something about the phrase “second opinion”, and perhaps something about the simple fact that there was finally a woman, a female doctor, after so many male doctors. Something in me, in a small, hidden corner of my mind, began to hope that this meeting would bring about some change. Perhaps Dr. Michaela Raz, who currently looks like a small and marginal character in the plot – perhaps she will actually surprise us and become a lead character. Perhaps she’ll tell me something no one has told me yet. Something soothing, something positive. I sat on a bench on the Boulevard and waited. I imagined this doctor reviewing the test results, smiling at me, laughing heartily and saying: 

“They are wrong. They are all wrong, you are perfectly healthy. You have nothing, go home, you’re healthy”. 

Suddenly, the sky thundered.

I said to myself that it was probably my imagination. But no! boom! Another thunder. And before I and the other people on the boulevard could figure out what was going on – a crazy torrent began to pour down on us. I ran to the nearest bus stop and huddled there with others. I tried to call my mom, but she didn’t answer. The bus stop was small and crowded and suddenly the rain turned into hail. I was worried when my mother didn’t answer my calls. So I left the bus stop, got all wet and started shivering. My feet waddled in the huge puddles on the sidewalk. Like a lost girl, I searched for my mommy among all those wet people, but I saw nothing. I kept waddling in the puddles, I was cold, I was wet … and suddenly I heard “Taarriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin! Come on! I found a taxi Quick !!”. I looked across the street and saw Clytemnestra screaming to the heavens and calling me to hop onto her chariots of fire. “Faster!” She kept yelling at me. “I’m coming! Wait for me! I shouted and jumped into the river that was once Weizmann Street. When I got to my mother, I hugged her tightly. Like in an old movie, a long hug in the middle of a storm. I grabbed her for a few more seconds, soaked in water, and got into the cab. 

“Should I turn up the heating some more?”, Dr. Michaela Raz asked the two blocks of ice seated in front of her.

“That-t-t-t would be n-n-nice”, my mom and I tried to reply, with difficulty because our teeth were grinding so hard. “I really would have done it, but it just gives me a terrible migraine.” 

“Oh .. soooooo .. it doesn’t matter”, I replied. I looked at her for a moment and thought it wasn’t so nice of her. “So what if it gives you a migraine? I have cancer! You probably know it because that’s why we paid you 500 dollars  to sit here and talk to me about my cancer while we shiver because you, Dr. Michaela Raz – get a migraine from the heating!”, 

I shouted at her. In my mind. 

“Well .. let’s take a look at the pathology report”, she continued. We sat in front of her in silence, hoping that here, in a moment, that plot twist would come. Soon, that second opinion we are so looking forward to will come and change the rules of the entire game.

“Small blue round … yes … sarcoma ..”, she mumbled as she looked at the pages. “Yeah, well, we don’t like such sarcomas.”

“Why? I mean, obviously, who likes sarcomas …”, I tried to heat up the freezing atmosphere in the room. She gave me the same hypocritical smile as before and continued. “Sarcoma. It’s a problematic tumor. It’s often very difficult to find a treatment for it. And there are metastases in the lungs, which is … which is not very thrilling.”

The session lasted another forty minutes but I don’t remember anything from it. Just a loud, long beep that echoed in my brain and left me frozen just like I had been when I arrived.

“In conclusion, I don’t really have anything new or different to offer. I suggest you start the treatments, as soon as possible. If there are problems and you want to come and meet me again – you’re always welcome”, she said and gave us that same freezing smile. We got up and were just about to leave, but then I felt I had to ask her a scary question. But not just ask her in my head, I mean, really ask her.

“Can I just ask one last thing?”, I said warily,


“Do you…”, I knew I was about to inflict a fatal injury on my mom.

A sharp and dangerous stab between the ribs, but…but no, I have to ask.

“Do you think I have a chance? “

I tried to avoid my mom’s gaze, but I could see her starting to bleed. Her expression not changing, just blood dripping from her ears, staining her shirt, and from there flowing and soiling the carpet.

“I … I really hope so”, Dr. Michaela Raz replied to me, and was also staring at the puddle of blood that pooled at my mother’s feet.

“Thank you”, I said. I lifted mom and we both left the room.

Even in the taxi, we kept silent. The rain continued to fall, and my mom continued to bleed. 

And then, as if nothing happened: 

“Oh, don’t forget, tomorrow we have that appointment with the naturopath from Harduf …”


“That guy, you know… I told you, the one who knows all about cannabis and… “

“Enough already?!!”

“No, you don’t understand…I read so many recommendations about him…”

“Can’t you see? How can you not see? You?! Prophet of doom? The big oracle? Can’t you see?”

“Can’t see what, sweetheart?”

“Your gods themselves explicitly told us not to go today. In the middle of the day, at the end of April, the gates of heaven opened and hail poured down! Hail pouring down at the end of April! Don’t you understand? Don’t you understand what that means?”

“No..what do you mean, sweetie?”

“The quest is over! That’s what it means. The quest for some great salvation is over. It won’t come like this. Salvation won’t come if we continue to seek in hail and winds. It won’t come from some guy who injects orange juice into the veins of desperate people, and it won’t come from this huge wheatgrass juicer you bought me for hundreds of dollars, Why? What’s the point in all this?! It’s not helping me! How about you just saying, maybe just saying, that you’re scared? Because I’m scared too. Terribly scared!”

I wiped her tears, as well as some clotted blood that got stuck to her cheek.

“What do you think? Of course I’m scared, Tarin.” 

And all at once, I started crying. I cried like a hungry baby. Endless crying. “… Come now… Tarin. Tarini…Sweetie. Enough. Everything will be fine.”

“Sweet girls, is everything okay?”

“Yes everything is alright. We just need some quiet. A little … quiet …. I need a little quiet…”

(Pause. After a while music starts.)

No! No music. (Music stops) 

No nothing. Just quiet. I mean it. Is that possible?

(Pause, after a while music starts)

“You don’t understand what quiet means? No?! So, okay. So I’m going on strike! 

(To the audience:) 

Are you okay with that? I’m on strike. You know what? If you want, you can proceed without me, Let’s see you.

I’m not going on. And I also wanna recount something else. Without you. I don’t need decor and jokes. And without any drama whatsoever. 


The facts are as follows: a year and a half ago, around October. I felt a lump. The lump, it was in… (music stops)

My left labia. 

No one knows what that means… my cunt.

in…my vagina.

OK, put on your music.

7. The Little Prince 

“Well, so, your options for fertility preservation,” Professor Azzam, who heads the fertility preservation clinic, told me, and started going over a list with me.  Another list.  This is just what I need now, My head has become a big moving-house box, the one you remember to start packing right at the last minute, one second before the movers arrive, and you stuff it with all the things that didn’t go anywhere else, and you just write “misc.” on it.  That’s what my head was like – a misc box.  

“You have the option of freezing eggs, you have the option – which is less preferable—to preserve follicles and, since you mentioned in the form that you have a partner, you have the option to freeze embryos.”

Tinnnggg, I felt like someone just sprinkled pop rocks on my tongue. I forgot about the box and the movers and everything that was so disturbing and just imagined him. This oh so beautiful boy. He has Udi’s eyes but my nose. He’ll be three years old soon and he can already speak. He calls me “Mommy!” just like I call my mom, and Udi calls him “Hey kid!” just like his parents call him, and it always melts my heart. “Hey kid, I’m gonna score a goal on you, watch out!”, Udi shouts at him “It didn’t, it almost touched the goal but no, because you’ll never catch me!” The boy shouts as he runs across a patch of grass in Dubnov Garden, screaming with fear and pleasure. “We’re coming for you, watch out, we’ll catch you in a second!”…

“I’m sorry” I said to Professor Azzam, it’s probably the hormones you gave me, I just … 

“So I see that you’re interested?”. Again. I was given forms to fill out, and questionnaires, but suddenly I didn’t care that I had to deal with all this paperwork. On the contrary, I was excited. I left the office and on my way home I already started going through all these questions and sections and filling out what I could. There was a page there that literally required a lawyer’s signature, because it was some procedure that could turn legal. My signature, and again my signature, and once again a lawyer’s signature, and my spouse’s signature … Shit, so much for rolling on the grass in Dubnov Garden – I didn’t even ask Udi. Okay, okay, take a deep breath, relax. And now the box came back, but this time the whole ‘nursery’ content was there. 

“Why are you packing all this just now?!”, Udi yells at me as he tries to change the boy’s nappy with one hand and close a box with the other. “Because I didn’t have time, because I am with the little one all day long!”, I yell back at him back as I clean baby food scraps from the floor, 

“Maybe if you had planned your time correctly, all this wouldn’t have happened!”. 

“Wahhhhh wahhhh!” 

Now he’s crying, are you happy ?! 

“Yes! I didn’t want him at all in the first place! You know why? Because someone here didn’t ask me if I wanted to freeze embryos! Right?!” 

“Waahhh Wahhhhh!” 

Now it’s me crying on the bus. Enough, pull yourself together now. Everything will be fine, keep things in proportions, Hush now… enough, enough, there are worse things than that, really. Some people have cancer!

I got home. Be direct, be focused! Here’s Udi. Go on, you can do it, take a deep breath. Everything will be fine, he loves you …

“Sit down!”

 “I AM sitting …”, Udi muttered as he stared at the TV.

“Don’t interrupt me. Sit down!”

“Okay…can I have a kiss at least? You came in without saying hel–“.

“No joking! No joking now. I speak – you listen. If you have anything to say – don’t say it! No talking while I talk. Don’t give me that face. Don’t raise your hand. Questions at the end. I’ll give you a piece of paper and then I’ll leave the room. You’ll read this paper, thoroughly! Then you’ll think. And finally, after you listen and read and think – and think well! – Call me back into the room. Understood?!?!

I left the living room, locked myself in the bedroom, and waited.

I was trying to imagine what Udi thought of all this. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it that way. Maybe it was just going to make him realize he didn’t want it. Not just these fetuses, this whole year as well. The treatments. Me, weak and tired, maybe bald, maybe vomiting and maybe unable to get out of bed. Maybe he didn’t wanna be there, maybe he prefered not to see it all happen… and suddenly I realized that it was really happening. I felt terribly dizzy.

I lay on the bed, and I felt warm tears pouring down from my eyes to the bed, and from the bed they flowed to the floor, and made a hole in the floor and flowed through the walls of the building down to the ground, and they burned it too. Because they were boiling, they were boiling with fear and worry. All the things I try to avoid with all my might but simply fail to. All my fears convened into one counter-demonstration, against me. A rally of fears. They scream at me in full force, with megaphones and banners. And as with any demonstration, there’s also a child sitting on his father’s shoulders. And that child is a baby-fear – a tiny fear – fear of death, a young fear that was only born yesterday, and it’s already running on the grass in Dubnov Garden, and the ball is about to …

Udi enters the room.

“So I read it, and I think it’s… it might even be fun to know that we have some frozen kids waiting for us somewhere, so that one day we can …”

“Thaw them”

“Yes, thaw”

“Like a veggie burger?”

“Yes. Just like a veggie-burger”

And we can go on from here. We certainly can. We can talk about the treatments, the pain, the dizziness, the nausea, the highs (סטלות?), the radiation treatment, the hospitalizations, the tests with joyful results, the ones that were less so … but…but I’m still standing in the same place.

And yet…nothing. Now I understand, this is the entire drama. I’m standing naked and you’re all just staring into my cancer.

8. Moving the Sun

(While talking, Tarin prepares for jogging: puts on sportswear, earphones)

When I was five years old, Grandpa taught me to stand on my head. From the moment I grasped it, it has stayed with me. That week, after the meeting with Dr. Simchov, I went for a run on the beach. As I was running and panting in pace, I thought that it would really be a crime not to take advantage of this beautiful time of day, this dusk, to find a suitable place to do a headstand.

In spite of this disappointment, I found a patch of grass that was sort of clean, and went ahead. Suddenly it seemed awkward to do a headstand, to be the exact opposite of all bipeds. “Do you think anyone cares? Do you know how much trouble and problems all these people have? Do you think anyone is looking at all? Go on, you wanted to do a headstand, so do a headstand!” And I did a headstand. Suddenly a breathtaking sight unraveled in front of my eyes. It was so beautiful that tears started streaming down my eyes. The sun and the sea turned upside down, the sun was down and the sea was up. and who made all this? I, I created this, I decided where the sun iswas. I saw the people on the beach, but I didn’t care that they were there, that they were looking at me wading through the air with my feet. None of them knew that I was engaged in the work of creation, that I was creating in that very moment. I’m changing the foundations of this world! I was overwhelmed with jubilation and intoxication. “I managed to move the sun from its place!” 

I stayed like that with my legs up for a few more seconds, pausing and savoring the moment. Until I lowered my legs back to the ground and then the realization seeped in. I didn’t decide on anything. The sun was still hanging in the exact same place it was a minute before. I didn’t make, I didn’t create, I didn’t launch, in short – I’m not God.  I’m hardly even as tall as Napoleon.

And that’s a shame … because for a moment I thought I’d managed to create a small victory for myself. Simply, simply because I won’t accept being surprised anymore. Yes! I won’t let anyone else write the text for me. I’m the one who should control the plot line. I’m the one who decides. I decide everything! Well maybe not everything, but..but…

Okay, but at the end of the day there’s a reality … and the reality is… I’m not writing this plot, even if this plot stinks. Yes yes, you heard right, Mr. screenwriter or playwright, you  stinky anonymous writer. You stink…That’s right, I need you, but .. but you need me too. You need me! And yes, I’m probably not about to move the sun from its place, but no matter how many dramatic, cheap, and miserable twists you write, I won’t give up. I continue to play the role. I continue to tell the story. I continue to be the story. Every moment. Now. let’s see you…Now you’re the one who’s scared to death, aren’t you? And since we’re already talking…So, I wanna tell you something else … chapeau. really. Well done .. no, I .. I’m a big fan. I take off my hat … my wig … my headscarf… I reveal my bald head to you and…

(Tarin puts the earphones back on and continues to run. The music is amplified in the background “It’s a wonderful life”, Smith and Burrows version)



Skip to content