a few moments at the pizzeria

My brother and I finish buying supplies from Staples and head towards Kings Highway to take the train home. Three journals for me–yes, I admit it, I am a journal shopaholic–and clay for my brother’s project. As usual, I didn’t have breakfast despite my mother’s warnings; so I feel hungry now and in the mood for pizza.

As soon as we turn right on Kings Highway, there is a pizzeria. We enter and order two slices of pizza from the man behind the counter. As I am getting the straws for the soda, I realize that another man is speaking in Arabic into his phone. I look up and he looks back at me. I wonder if he thinks I understood what he said, but I don’t think about it for too long because, well, I didn’t.

My brother and I sit down at a table off to the left side. I sit facing the T.V. so I can watch soccer on the television–it’s in Spanish, though, so I don’t understand a word, still I am intrigued.

Every so often, I tell my brother to wait until the slice is cooler before eating it or to at least close his mouth as he chews the burning piece.

A few minutes later, a man enters the shop. He could easily be in his 60s. His goatee is stark white. He marks the table right in front of me as his own by placing his bag and worn black prayer beads on the table. As he turns around, I notice a gold cross his neck. He walks back to the counter and orders a slice of pizza.

When walking back, he walks all the way up to the TV to see what is going on. He removes his baseball cap to reveal a shaven head as he rests one hand on the table. His jean shorts, which are frayed at the edges, and sleeveless shirt are perfect for the hot weather outside.

“One slice,” the man behind the counter calls out.

After getting his pizza, he sets it on the table along with a book stand.

“Hey Sammy,” he calls out to the Arab man, who he remotely talked with when he entered, “you know about Liberty?”

“Liberty? Yeah, my son is reading about it,” Sammy responds. He continues to say something that I don’t quite catch.

“No, Liberty was a ship. They had an American flag the size of this room on it,” he says, sticking out his hands at his sides, “and Israel threw a rocket through it.” He continues to explain that Israel thought it was an Egyptian ship: “those bastards. Like I said: when you have allies like that, you don’t need enemies.”

“When did that happen?” Sammy asks in an accent.

“Oh, I don’t remember. I wish I did.”

After sitting down, the man takes out a book and puts it on the book stand he had already set out before. The Ghost Mountain Boys. I don’t recognize the title.

He continues to talk to Sammy about Israel. He occasionally makes eye-contact with me, but I look away. Another aid ship was sent to Gaza, he informs Sammy.

“By the British?” Sammy asks.

“Oh, no. By Ireland.”

“Ireland?”

“Yeah, they named it after the girl that was crushed by the Israeli bulldozer. You remember that?”

“Oh, yeah. I remember. What was her name?”

By this time, my brother and I are finished with our slices of pizza. He gets up and gathers the Staples bag from the table. We both leave the pizzeria and walk towards the train station to head home.

Respond to a few moments at the pizzeria

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