After a miserable, lonely Friday, cool and grey, I meet Rufina at the Liselotte for profertjes, which she’s never had, on Saturday morning. A plate of small, fluffy Dutch pancakes, with fruit, date molasses and yoghurt. Delicious. I love showing my discoveries to people, I don’t do it enough.
Rufina is upset when she arrives. Her face changes colour like a cuttlefish, pink to red to white. A tear runs down her cheek. She discovered yesterday that her friend in Moscow committed suicide a year ago, wanting to be part of the 27 club. I try to say the right things, but mostly I let her talk until she recovers.
We talk about how, in English, there are so many ways to soften what you say; May I..? Do you mind if I..? and so on. In Hebrew there’s only bevacasha, please, to ameliorate. Give me the menu, you say, then, please, to make it polite. We later learn there is a word for if possible, but Rufina’s point mostly stands.
We walked into along the beachfront, which wasn’t busy, another cool, grey day, and she chatters happily about this and that. Simon, do you like curly hair? Simon, what do you think about animal prints? We point out the handsomest men to each other and make kissy noises at their dogs. Everyone here has one, the ugliest mutts, some of them. Apartments are so small, no one has a garden, there aren’t many green spaces, the dogs are left alone all day to bark. Do you think they prefer them to people? I ask. Rufina is definite, Yes.
Today’s word: bechotz le-eretz – abroad – בחוץלארץ