She was right to wait and look at the books during the day. When she woke, Delilah could tell she was alone in the apartment. The only sounds heard came from rooms beyond, padded by multiple layers of dry wall and plaster. In the muffled quiet, Delilah waited, refusing to get up until she felt the twinge of her bladder, begging her to release the three cups of water chugged down last night. With a groan of disapproval, Delilah finally swept back the layer of blankets cocooning her and sat up, bleary eyed and nearly blinded by the bright daylight shining on the nearly uninterrupted skyline of pale sand dunes.
Curtains, was Delilah’s next thought. I NEED curtains. Swinging her legs down to the floor, her feet winced at the cold tile. And a rug. Then she plodded her way to the bathroom and had a good long piss, relishing the long roll of toilet paper screwed into the wall beside the toilet. While she wiped up, though, she began to think of how intimate it was, sharing his toilet. His butt had sat on this seat. She cringed slightly, wishing the thought hadn’t occurred to her.
As she entered the kitchen, she noticed one change, a plate with a stack of lavash bread lay out on the counter, a jar of honey beside it. No note, she thought, sadly. But she hadn’t really thought there would be one. He didn’t seem to have anything he wanted to say to her, except “I do” yesterday.
She carried the plate of bread to the couch and began spreading the honey across it with a knife she located after a minutes search. Plopping down in the middle, the plate balanced delicately across her thighs. As she held a piece of lavash to her mouth a golden pearl of honey hovered on the torn edge, threatening to fall and spot the clean sofa beneath her. Delilah’s jaw rushed forward to receive the bread and dangling honey, snapping at it before the honey could drop. Her jaw worked at the long piece of bread, opening and closing with swift bites, moving closer by inches to the fingers that held the dangerously messy meal. As soon as the threat was over, Delilah sat up straight, setting the plate on tile floor, rather than risk the couch.
Her heart rate seemed to have picked up dramatically, she knew, as a result of her near brush with staining. Suddenly the overstuffed couch felt uncomfortable. Delilah slid down to the floor instead, her legs jacked up in front of her, knees protruding through the thin fabric of her pajama pants. Sighing she reached to the plate of bread and honey beside her and continued eating her breakfast.
As she chewed the day grew bright. The window behind the couch shone down on the spines and titles of Samson’s books. With nothing else much to look at she turned to them and read each title in turn. With each title and subtitle she paused momentarily over the words, trying to both remember and imagine what the book contained. Some were obvious. The title Gaza in Crisis, a clear back print on lucid white, stood out. A particularly well-read copy, by the lines of broken binding that dragged horizontally across the book lying flat atop a pile near the sofa. She hadn’t read it, of course. But she recognized the name, Noam Chomsky that read large beside the title.
When she finished eating, her eyes returning frequently to that same book, she gathered herself and rose up.
Still half bent and slouched over she reached out her hand for the book, pulling it towards her like a dish cloth, letting the tail end drag along behind the rest. With the book in her hand, flipped open to a marked page. There were a few sentenced underlined and surrounded by quickly written penciled notes. Careful to read the sentence before it, for context, she read the passage deemed so critical by the book’s owner.
It still didn’t make that much sense to her, and she felt very uneducated and frivolous all of sudden. As if she hadn’t spent years studiously adhering her nose to the pages of the many books piled into her arms by her teachers. Delilah was still for a while, reflecting on what she recalled of history from the private tutor hired by Uncle Shahar. But that’s it, now isn’t it, Delilah thought to herself. He hired them. Why would they teach me anything but what he already knew, and thought was true. Still it didn’t make any sense to her. Why would people, individual people be willing to participate in this? Although she asked the question several times in the next few hours, reading the book from the beginning, the answer only seemed to drift further ahead, as if it had slipped silently around the corner to the next page and the next and it was several hours and over a hundred pages later when Delilah raised her head and realized she was famished once again.
It’s time for some lunch, she thought, terror in Gaza or no.