I was just saying to Ettie as we drove towards Tel Aviv that I’m not going to any expensive restaurants. We get better food and more of it at home or at my son’s apartment. Now I find myself sitting in this place. I must admit the view is beautiful, waves breaking gently on the rocks below, a sail in the distance alone on an open sea
There must be a story in my habit of tricking myself into expensive adventures like this. 200 for a dead fish, grilled and full of bones.
I’m out of control, my motor got switched off. Perhaps the one who controls me didn’t switch me on. Perhaps he couldn’t find the switch. Now I have to do it all by myself, switch myself on or sit still and do nothing. I had a piece of fish I paid two hundred shekels for and didn’t want to eat.
Man has always been jealous of other living creatures. He’s jealous of the birds because they can fly and he’s jealous of the fish because of its ability to swim down into the deepest parts of the ocean. He’s jealous of the strength of many creatures; the lion and the horse, the sexual prowess of the bull, the cleverness of the fox, and the loyalty of the dog.
“That fish,” I said, pointing to the silver gasping thing, blissfully unaware of the fate that awaited him. The restauranteur looked at me with a smile on his bearded face, then dipped the net in the tank and the thing came squiggling into the air which would choke it to death. “Grilled or fried?” was the question. The creature’s two black beady eyes ogled waiting to hear his fate in the afterworld, which would be the depths of my stomach.
I thought of the difference between Jona and I. We had both come to Joppa, but I swallowed and he was swallowed. We both came back to life; he after being regurgitated, me having my hunger slated. Whether we eat the fish or it eats us we live.
The golden brown morsel had come a long way, from the depths of the ocean to the depths of my body, via the fire and my plate. I dug the fork in and ripped out a piece of white flesh, too dry for my liking. but too late. Once grilled a fish can’t then be fried. Down my palate and into the underworld of my stomach it would have to go piece by piece.
I paid the man for his trouble in catching and preparing my repast and went away. I regretted the 200 shekels, but I can’t blame anyone besides myself. It was my idea to go to that restaurant. But the view was great and Etti liked it and that’s what is ultimately important.