Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
In Hemdat's Garret

1

Hemdat lived in his garret at the edge of Neve Tsedek at the edge of Jaffa. You go there from Neve Shalom through the houses of Zerakh Barnett until you get to the old school for girls. When you get there, you see some houses burgeoning out of the sand, including the ChaBaD study house on the right and the house of Rabbi Kook on the left. You walk between heaps of sand until you come to the new school for girls. When you get there, you see a row of small houses of the Akhva quarter. You turn right and you turn left. There you see a small house with a kind of garret on top, half of it floats on the house and half seems to flutter in the air. You enter the courtyard and go up to the garret, that's Hemdat's garret.

Our comrades in the Land of Israel call every roofed space a room. If its walls aren't split, they call it a fine room. But Hemdat's room is a room and in fact it is fine. He lives there all by himself, and it has five windows. In one window you see the big sea that has no end, and in another window you see the green citrus groves that have no measure, and in another window you see the valley where the train passes, and in another window you see the desert where Tel Aviv was built later on, and one window faces Neve Tsedek. And just as the room is fine outside, so it is fine inside. Its ceiling is made of boards, and its walls are painted green, and green curtains hang on the windows, and when a wind blows, the curtains wave like a fan. Real furnishings are there, a table and a chair and a sofa and a lamp and a kerosene stove, and a kettle and cups. A curtain is stretched over a corner of the room, and Hemdat's clothes are hanging behind the curtain. And there is no dust there. And that is no exaggeration,

-433-

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