The Garden of Israel
Will Never Sleep

ALON

On the fourth day of Iyar, I drive to Jerusalem until I reach the graveyard entrance where Gal waits for me, holding a giant wreath of orange and yellow flowers. It’s the usual marking to honor a fallen soldier, but this year across the flowers and green hanging leaves lies a simple white banner that reads Commander Dahan Team.

I frown at the banner and then at Gal, whose face is apologetic. “Headquarters put in the order, I guess,” Gal says.

“Send it back,” I say.

“Come on. I already paid for it.”

“His name’s not going on Gabi’s grave.”

I take the wreath from Gal and pull out a knife to cut off the banner, but the banner is wired into the back of the frame. I bang the wreath against the graveyard gate, sending bits of yellow flowers to the ground until the banner knocks loose. I clip through the rest of the fabric and stuff the banner into the nearest bin. The wreath looks like shit. I gather some of the flowers from the ground and stuff them into the larger holes. Gal picks up the flowers with me because he’s sensitive like that. And he’s my best friend.

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