In my dream the sun is hidden behind the dark gray sky and choppy blue water of the Red Sea. The ferry is buckling in the waves and the metal deck and the plastic seats are slippery and cold. You are with me and we hope to reach Eilat soon so we can go deep-sea fishing.
When the crewmen, clad in red El Al uniforms, come around to take and inspect our shoes for bombs, you make a pun, mixing up "Hamas" and "humus," but you are not Jewish and this is your first time in Israel and the pun becomes silly and they laugh and mock your American accent, morphing it into a Mid-Western twang.
A little old woman sits on the metal deck. She is covered in rags. She looks up from the ground and begs me for change. I see that she has a deformed face. The coins in my pocket are cold and wet. When she takes the silver coins from my outstretched hand, she recoils and scowls at me, biting down on her lower lip and glaring at me with her cataract eyes.
"No more," I say, "no more," feeling the impression of her stare, but she holds out her hand again and again I feel for coins and give her, this time, thirty shekels. But no, she scowls again and pulls herself by one arm across the deck and looking at the remaining silver coins in my palm, I realize that I had been handing her British pence.
When they let us off at Eilat, it is raining lightly. We run along the wharf, the casinos and hotels to our right are dark and empty. The only light along the wharf burns brightly from the fluorescent English letters in each hotel's name. Though we run, we see the deep-sea boat that looks like a Spanish galleon drift out into the waves like a castaway holding onto a decaying piece of drift-wood.
I realize I forgot my shoes on the ferry and we run back along the docks, our footsteps echo on the quiet wharf. Back at where we arrived, we find nothing; the ferry has left and there is no indication of any return by it or another. The rain is sweeping in on the Red Sea now; we can tell by the way the water flattens and ripples. You are tired of moving and pull your knees up and rub your shoeless feet.
I see an island out in the sea. It is green and has rows and rows of orange trees that sway and buck in the black and stormy air. I shake your shoulder and point towards the island of orange trees and say, "Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it beautiful?" but you rub your feet and your head, with your hair matted down from the cold cold rain—it sinks into your bones—and Eilat is nothing but a dream hidden behind a desert and a sea now overrun by the rain.