A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

Back to Issue Eleven


"Where the Sky Meets the Sea" by Nicole Hart

Where the Sky Meets the Sea

The heat forced me to notice everything. My thighs sticking to the bus seat. The smell of burekas wafting from the box on the old woman’s lap. The weight of Hebrew textbooks in my arms. You were pleased to hear this.


It’s good to stay vigilant, you said when I Skyped to tell you about my first week abroad in Tel Aviv. I read those buses can be dangerous. You always held the phone too close to your face.


I’m always careful, Dad. Also, I can see straight up your nose.


You often approached our Friday night conversations armed with a new fact, mostly related to the weather. Did you know the humidity can reach 90% in Tel Aviv? December is the most humid month in Buffalo, but it only reaches 77%. That’s more reasonable.


But the humidity in Buffalo is caused by endless snow. At least it’s permanently sunny here.


Okay then, show me the sun, you’d tease, knowing I only called at night.


When I first moved there for the year, just two months after converting, you called to ask if I was coming home for Christmas.


I hesitated. Dad, I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore.


Then are you coming home for Hanukkah? I’ll buy a menorah.


When I told you I had decided to convert, you were not surprised. You’ve been Jewish since you were little, you responded. I thought you would inquire about my decades long interest in the religion, which started with a simple history lesson from my fourth-grade teacher. But instead you simply joked, You never liked ham.


You were always trying to learn more. You’d read books and call with questions. Do you have to believe in God? Do all Jewish families have two sets of dishes? I would explain there’s no single version. I’d tell you there are a million varieties of Judaism. I read there are just three, you’d say. And the conversation would continue.


You wanted to know what the Mediterranean Sea was like. Were the beaches better than the beaches on Lake Erie?


It’s not a beach if it’s on a lake. Of course it’s better.


Prove it, you’d say, asking me to show you the sand again after it was already dark.


Occasionally, I’d forget to call and you’d worry. I picture you now on those days, pacing the kitchen of my childhood home, your old slippers flapping on the linoleum as you checked your phone again and again.


The morning of the bus bombing, I dialed you instinctively, worrying about waking you. For a split second, my fingers forgot you were gone. Had you answered, I would have said, It’s me, Dad. I’m okay. Don’t read the news. Something happened in Jerusalem. You’d have asked me to remind you how far Tel Aviv is from Jerusalem. I’d tell you, and then I’d say, Dad, it’s morning here. I’d walk you to my window so you could finally see the sun, the sand, and the vast horizon where the sky meets the sea.

Nicole Hart

Nicole Hart is a lawyer living in Westchester, New York with her husband and two children. Her flash and poetry have been published in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology (Vol. 8), JMWW, BULL, The Lumiere Review, and Whale Road Review. You can find her on Twitter @nicolehart_blog.



Nicole Hart