Hummus, Akko, 1998
Hummus, Jaffa, 2008
Finnish actress Ullariikka Koskela, with whom I shared 6 months of fine romance ten years ago, came to visit Israel again. Hers is not just any other visit. Ulla served as the base for the character of Nina in my new novel "I'll Meet You Halfway" ("ניפגש באמצע הדרך").
At one point in the novel, the protagonist, Eyal, recognizes that Nina is not the love of his life. Rather, she is the mirror of his life, and his life is her life's mirror. This is true to Ulla and I. both of us went through seven-year-long relationships that ended with much pain, then through briefer relationships that concluded recently. Over the last week we did little but speak about love, conversations that left me feeling strangely calmer than I've ever been.
This is not to say all we did was yak. Ulla met friends,
and even other old flames, (here with downtown lover, in a shot I'll forever hold precious).
She enjoyed Israel's exoticness: watching people sell fruit in the nude,
and shop for fruit in the nude,
she saw wonders: from streets fully empty of cars on Yom Kippur,
to grown men flying kites.
Finally, thanks to the hype slowly generating around the book, she became a minor media celebrity. Not that she's not used to that, being one of Finland's busiest theatre actresses, with much television and film work under her belt. Ulla is an expert in improv theatre, something that comes to great use in Israel, even when one is off camera.
It may come as disppointment for those who read the novel, but we stayed in seperate beds the whole time, preferring to be buddies. This is not a friendship that will die out, and we can't afford to be threatening to each other's future significant others. Attach two mirrors to one another and nothing is visible, place them slightly apart and you will catch a glimpse of infinity.