I spend the evening with Nathan in Basel, a smart part of Tel Aviv. It’s the first time we’ve been together in weeks, just us, without Alberto and Rufina.
After thirty years of being an air steward he is oddly unconfident and bad at being a customer, too eager to please the people who should be working to please him. The waitress says there are only places inside, at the bar. I point at the nine empty tables outside. Nathan starts promising that we won’t be long, no more than an hour, probably less. She lets us sit outside, pulling that face that says she’s doing us a favour. There are, of course, still seven empty tables when we leave.
He bemoans his sexless life here. He’s stopped going to the park behind the Hilton, and the old bus station, the places he goes to find sex. I tell him my war stories from the last month or two, however long it’s been since it was just us, about my recent mansoon. I can’t be as unguarded when Alberto and Rufina are with us, conversation isn’t the same.
Do you get so much attention in London? he asks.
Not as much, no, I reply. Do you think you should be getting more than me?
He’s too polite to say it, but he’s not too polite to think it. Nathan is handsome, like a newsreader is handsome. Not my taste, but I can see how people are attracted to him. I dare say he considers himself better looking than me, in a higher league, and I dare say he is.
I show him the picture I took of Avi, who tried to pick me up on the street the day before. Nathan recognises him, says he doesn’t like him, his eyes are crazy and that he chased Nathan around the park one evening, not taking no for an answer, but says he resisted. It seems we are in the same league after all, although I would have said yes.
Today’s word: col cuch – so much – כל כך
See also: No picnic