W.E. – The Gold Ring

Life is full of paradoxes and compromises. Some of them are utterly ridiculous, like the Israeli-Palestinian situation where walls have been built to separate people that used to live together side by side. Extensive walls, surrounded by high-tech equipment, have been built to keep the Palestinians out. 

No matter how heavy-handed the security precautions are, and no matter their toll on daily life, there is no way to build a foolproof system. In some areas, there are simply too many people living too close together for them to be physically separated across an artificial boundary. Someone standing on his balcony on the Israeli side can literally wave and shout to a distant relative who walks down the street just across the border. A youngster merely needs a box to stand upon to look at the Promised Land.

Each day, individuals are being bothered by these artificial boundaries, their lives barely livable as they struggle to scrape together the raw essentials.

Soldiers walking upstream, with their weapons placed lazily across shoulders as they seek no harm. A loud bang rips open the late afternoon, one of them drops to the ground, and his comrades are scattered all over the place in an instant. The blood of a brave soldier oozes from the gaping stomach wound, a painful death awaiting him as the golden sand turns red. His flask has fallen down, its cap sprung open, fresh water runs in a thin stream and mixes with the blood. 

It’s real, but you cannot take it to the bank. Except the river bank… His widow is walking there now, she searches for the gold ring. Who took it? 

“Not me,” his soldier pals all say, as they look the other way to conceal their embarrassment. 

Since no one took it, the ring must have fallen into the sand, she is thinking in her distraught mental state. Then it must appear in a moment, glittering in the Sun.

She looks up hours later, staring defiantly into the Sun, which returns the favor by blinding her. She falls to her knees, sobbing as her utter misery becomes clear: Alone there by the river bank, a smell of corruption, her husband’s soldier “pals” assisting her lazily in a fake search for a ring they know isn’t there – because it’s already been sold!

“It’s on the market, isn’t it?” she cries, as she rises to her feet and starts dashing towards two of the soldiers, fists clenched. “Our wedding ring is soiled in my husband’s blood, and you stole it!”

“Stop right there or I’ll shoot,” shouts an MP officer.

She halts in her tracks, slowly opens her fists, and signals she’s unarmed. Just a harmless, lonely, desperate woman searching for a ring.

The old man is standing by the river with his fishing rod bent over the rail of the bridge, so frail-looking yet durable. He shakes his head at the sight of this commotion, it happens almost every day that someone gets shot on either side of the border. “Demilitarized zone!” he contemptuously laughs. “I’ll stick with the fishes if it’s the last thing I do!” 

A Jeep vanishes in a dust cloud resembling the black velvet curtain that went down in front of the brave soldier’s eyes.

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