Yael walked some distance in front of me in an annual memorial ceremony. We walked with slow steps along a tree line with a serious expression on our faces. Yael wore a light-colored blouse and a narrow-waisted skirt that expanded downward to below her knees. I recognized the blouse and knew that in the front there was a line of six black buttons, from her neck to her chest. Each button was shaped like a half ball. After the obituary was over we turned to exit, and Yael crossed in front of me and nodded hello with her head. All the buttons on her blouse were closed.
I was invited in the evening to the opening of an art exhibition that took place on the second floor of a recently renovated old building. The way in was via external iron stairs. When I arrived the building was full of visitors. After I climbed the stairs and advanced along a corridor, I saw Yael again walking in front of me. I thought to increase the pace in order to reach her and exchange a few words with her. She wore a green dress without buttons at all, and I hesitated. Until I pulled myself together, Yael turned to one of the rooms, and I didn’t see her anymore.
The next day involved legwork. The town was full of vehicles and there were traffic jams everywhere. I went to the bank to settle an old account. Then I moved and took a taxi to an office where I had to arrange something. The taxi crawled and I saw that I could arrive faster on foot. The next place I walked and the busses puffed their smoke directly in my face. I arrived home in the afternoon, tired, sweating and sticky. Roni called and suggested that in the evening we will go to a talk on hypnosis and its applications in medicine. I was not very enthusiastic, but Roni said that the talk will not be in a hall. People will sit around tables and there will be hot drinks and refreshments. Eventually I agreed.
When we entered the place I saw Yael and two girlfriends sitting at one of the tables. Yael looked calm and relaxed. Three buttons of her blouse were open. I said hi to her and we found a free place three tables away from her. The guest lecturer was middle-aged, a respect inspiring figure with black-framed glasses, and temples covered with white hair neatly brushed backward. He started to talk on the origins of hypnosis and its first applications. Prolonged talking about the dangers in this technique and brought examples. Also described the legality state, who is permitted to hypnotize and why. So long minutes passed until he arrived at the main subject that was the application of hypnosis to medicine. I felt that my eyelids started to close, and I wondered whether he talked to us on hypnosis, or tried to hypnotize us without success. In matters of medicine, the man talked mainly on medical treatments under the influence of hypnosis instead of using any anesthesia. It should be said in his favor that he ended the talk in exactly forty-five minutes. Everybody applauded politely, and then the stage of “Any Questions?” Someone asked a question and the lecturer answered. Again, “More Questions?” None. Again polite applauses.
The lecturer walked around the tables and came to Yael with whom he was probably acquainted, and asked her what her opinion was. Yael kindly replied that the talk was very interesting, and she enjoyed very much hearing it. He said that a continuing talk will take place in two weeks, and she is invited to come again. Yael said that she would be delighted. Only I paid attention, I thought, that in some magic way one button closed in her blouse. The lecturer said that he would like to sit with Yael and her friends and talk a little bit, but he had another talk later in the evening. He apologized and left.
We sat, Roni and me, and sipped tea. I told him: “Listen, down the street, there is a nice pub. Maybe we’ll go there and drink beer?”. And Roni, who remembered that in the early evening I said hi to Yael, said: “Why not? And invite also your friend”. I said that I was a little shy. “What there is to be shy of?” Roni, who is not shy of anything, got up and went to Yael’s table and told her that we are going to drink beer in the pub. Would like to join? and also bring along her two friends. Yael replied that she didn’t know. She had a long day, the talk was a little tedious and she was a little tired.
Roni came back to the table. We dropped eyes to the cups and sipped from them. When I lifted them up I saw that Yael has disappeared. Roni said to me: “I’m going out to smoke, and when I come back we’ll go”, and went out of the room. I put my elbows on the table, put my head on my hands and dropped my eyes again. I observed the cookies plate with an intense look and hesitated whether to take one cookie or to hold back. Suddenly I heard a voice from the side: “Are you coming to the pub?” I lifted my eyes, turned my head, and saw Yael in front of me. All the buttons on her blouse were open.
Translated from Hebrew.
https://www.tale.co.il/ סיפורים-לפי-נושא /סיפורים-באנגלית/Don-Giovanni.html
Old Chinese Legend: