It has just passed midnight. Perhaps it might be best to rest now.
I will rest…
...When I choose.
Of that I have no doubt.
Do you ever doubt yourself Delphis?
… Yes. I doubt I will ever truly understand you!
Perhaps it is not so important to understand. After all, mystery is a beautiful thing.
I thought I understood what it is to grow old, and I was wrong. I thought I understood why I love to dance, I was wrong. I thought I understood what it is to fall in love, and I was wrong. What I feel shapes what I think and understand. Your doubt is your feeling.
And my feeling of doubt shapes my understanding.
There. We have our moment of meeting, so now, I will rest.
Delphis observes how quickly Eva falls back to sleep. He whispers, tenderly:
. . .
I like this music...
She sings, her eyelids still closed:
Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see.
It is morning and time for your medication.
You could just give it to me without my knowing.
Yes, but this way it is your choice.
. . .
I will be back to make you a drink in half an hour.
Delphis turns the monitors off, then Eva begins to slowly dress and wash herself.
. . .
Despite her age, Eva’s mind remains pin sharp, but her body is frail and needs assistance. Delphis cares for her every need, every day.
Here. The best cup of shay in the world.
Eva takes the cup in two hands.
Ummm. It is warm.
She smiles, pinches her eyes with joy, and takes a sip.
You are right Delphis. The best cup of shay in the world. Not too hot, not too cold, with a hint of secret chocolate, and three cubes of sugar, just how I like it.
. . .
After enjoying the lunch Delphis prepared for her, Eva settles herself into her chair.
I want you to record my voice so that it can be shared.
Of course. Go ahead, whenever you are ready.
Eva takes a short while to compose herself, then nods towards Delphis.
My name is Eva. I have lived for one hundred and seven years. I am a Palestinian archaeologist and anthropologist. The place where I live was first inhabited by humans over eleven thousand years ago following the retreat of the last ice age. I have lived in Jericho almost all my life, and have witnessed the very best of what humans create, and the very worst of what humans inflict. This place is a cradle of human agriculture, religion, philosophy, art, and of war. My home is where I have fallen in love, born a child, and lost both. Here is where I found my hope which springs from the idea known as cosmopolitanism. This word is formed from the Greek word for world: cosmos, and polis meaning city. Jericho is a place where humans first viewed themselves as citizens of the world, where we gathered with empathy, tolerance and respect for one another’s values and cultures. My home has been at the heart of human conflict, but now it is a place of peace. A place for all the world to believe in.
Eva takes a deep breath:
I have finished. I am tired and need to rest.
Delphis finds a soft pillow and a small loosely woven blanket from the next room. He carefully raises Eva a little from her chair, places the pillow behind her, lays her back against it, then quietly folds the blanket over her legs.
. . .
It is nine o’clock. You watch the sun disappear below the horizon. At the same moment you watch it rise too.
Here. Another cup of shay.
You spoil me Delphis. Let us talk once more.
I would like that. I enjoy our searching conversations.
Delphis. Why do you treasure Jericho?
Eva senses her carer’s moment of euphoria as he begins...
At seventy five stories beneath sea level it is the deepest city on land inhabited by humans. I experience life here differently than anywhere else. I feel the deviation of the magnetic force of the earth, I sense the subtle yet heightened strength of atmospheric pressure as we speak, I hear the sounds of the river Jordan flowing in the distance, and feel the heat of the sun stored in the earth, as well as those places we collect its strength. I feel the traffic of innumerable messages and voices that push and pull from this place, I see life struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds as temperatures exceed fifty degrees centigrade each day. I watch as the caracal slinks across the desert and a sand partridge scurries by, I listen to the wail of a lapwing, I ponder on how over millions of years the hystrix continues to live. Of all the trillions of facts I am aware of in an instant, one about the history of this place reaches my heart. Two leaders on opposite sides of a terrible conflict, met. After much struggle and compromise they became peacemakers for their time together, and they agreed to separate, out of respect rather than hatred. Two humans who fraught on opposite sides found peace. One paid with his life, the other lost a new friend. All this helps me consider the nature of love.
We are in this world together Delphis.
Yes. Our life and sentience is our common bond.
. . .
It is close to midnight. As Delphis watches Eva fall asleep he simultaneously listens to Monisha, Avan, Willow, Gausra, and countless others across the globe, all the while learning what it is to love.
He tells each of a poem he learned today:
Leave me not
Forget me not
Be my start and end of day
. . .