Mud Season Review's nonfiction editor, Brett Sigurdson, recently interviewed me about "An Unexpected Light."
What happens after “An Unexpected Light” ends? What happens to Tsafi?
The piece ends in early October last year, and in the weeks that followed, Tsafi become more frail and struggled to even talk on the phone. Fortunately, she was surrounded by her family. I was used to our chatting every few days, at minimum weekly, and I hungered for our conversations. Then she phoned one afternoon, and the call was probably all of two minutes long—that’s how difficult it was for her. When we hung up, I knew that might be the last time we would speak. I set the phone on my coffee table and bawled into my hands. Up to that point her death had been more theoretical for me, but I didn’t know it until that moment. I was beginning to really grasp what it would mean to live without her.
We never did speak again. She died the weekend of Thanksgiving. I cried for a day and a half, and then I had a moment: I was standing in my front hallway, about to go in or out the front door, I don’t remember now which, and I felt so sad. It was a dreary and cold day, very grey—totally fitting for how I felt inside—and I was once more on the verge of tears, and all of a sudden I pictured her. I’m not saying she appeared to me or that I sensed her presence, just that all of a sudden I thought of her chiding me, with a smile (as was her way) and saying, “Seriously, Shuly? You of all people should know I’m fine.” And I thought, She’s right. I do know.
I think of her just about every day, and once in a while, I play some of her old voicemails. They always start out with, “Hey, Shul. It’s me.” And though I trust that she is fine, I still to this day keep asking her to turn on the darned pink lamp.
(To read the full interview, please go to this link of the Mud Season Review. And if you do, don't be scared by the huge picture of my face that pops up!)