I have this dream every couple of months. I am in Jerusalem. It is a warm Friday afternoon and the streets are bustling. I think, "wow, I am finally back!" I am wearing a cotton hippie blouse like I used to in my very early 20's and walking to the shuk for my weekly ritual of kubbeh soup (the red one with beets, not the yellow one called chamutz).
I walk around the outskirts of the market, looking for the right sloping street with all the hole-in-the wall restaurants. I can almost taste the rich soup with its savoury dumplings that will sustain me for my Friday shop. I have always had a ritual to anchor my week. This was one of my favourites.
And then, just when I think I have found the right block, I wake up. I am in Toronto. That's no longer my ritual. I have not had kubbeh soup for 15 years. This dream has recurred for so many years, it's an old friend. There is even a point in my dream where I wonder "am I awake?" and try the proverbial pinch.
I don't know why, of all dreams to have recur, this one persists. Some people dream of loves lost. Me? I dream of soup.
I can't totally explain it or the symbolism of this one.
The sci-fi geek in me has this impulse to turn it into a spec fiction story where the life I live now is a dream or a parallel timeline. That perhaps the "me" in that dream doesn't exists after that point of entering the restaurant. I used to imagine these kinds of stories much more often when I was a kid. And probably again after seeing la double vie de Veronique.
Or maybe I have that dream because I really did stop the life I'd been making in a new place, and a language I had learned to speak. And part of me wants to go back and see what would have happened, had I stayed. Would my rituals have changed? Who am I meeting for lunch? At 21, I usually ate there alone.
But more than that, I think: I need to learn how to make that soup. Anyone have a good recipe? I think it's Iraqi.