Showing posts with label Cycle Man. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cycle Man. Show all posts

Jan 17, 2019

Cycle Man

The computer store is my last stop in the mall. Two guys work here, one in a yarmulke and one not. When I enter, they’re poring over a magazine, heads together, and murmuring. I’d be concerned about their reading material except they don’t startle, or even note that I’m right in front of them, tapping my nails on the glass display. When I ask for printer ink one smacks his lips, dog ears a page, and reluctantly pulls himself away. I glance at the cover: there, glossy and inviting, a four color spread of motherboards, chargers, routers, and drives. I sit down and wait. 

A bear of a man fills the doorway. Tattoos slither from the slab of one shoulder down his arm and drop anchor at his fingers, from which a red motorcycle helmet dangles. Wild curly hair goes unchecked. I’m calculating how low the pepper spray is buried in my purse when Cycle Man pauses, touches the door’s mezuzah, and kisses his fingers.

And here I have to do a replay.

It took only seconds, but Cycle Man closed his eyes, paused with the deep concentration of a devout Jew, and slowly kissed the mezuzah.

The clerks look up and go wild, “Yossi! You’re back!”  My ink is tossed aside. The three shake hands, elbows, and engage in a kind of arm wrestle that to men in Israel must translate as, “Has it been that long? I’m very glad to see you. How are you doing?” Cycle Man, in the softest tone replies, “Thank G-d.”

I catch only some of what Cycle Man says: hospital, four months, fine, fine, Thank G-d.

The clerks remember I exist. I plunk down my credit card. The salesman bags my ink and rings me up, all the time drilling Yossi with questions rat-tat-tat-tat, when from the mall a woman wails, “Mommy, no!”

Yossi bounds out, the two sales guys follow.  A tiny Filipina caregiver is struggling to keep an old woman from slipping out of her wheel chair. The woman’s head is bare scalp and white straw; her tongue is lolling to a side. Her eyes open and close in waves, like she’s drowning. 

In a quiet voice, Yossi says something to the clerks, who pull out their phones. With three fingers of his imprinted arm Yossi palpates the side of the old woman’s neck. I’m standing right there.  On his inner arm now exposed, in the color of dusk, a tattoo of the galaxy spins toward his pulse.

A team from Magen David Adom arrives in a flash. One of the EMTs kisses Cycle Man on the top of his head, “Yossi. You’re back.”