Post 40: Phases of Love

I can’t say it was love at first sight. That wouldn’t be accurate. I met her at an awkward point in my life, when I was still unsure of myself, and far from the man I would one day become. As my teenage years melted into my twenties, I gained a better sense of who I was and where I came from. Looking backwards to my past, my family’s past and my people’s past, helped me arrive at that understanding. And it was in that context, in late June of 2008, that I fell in love with her for the first time.

It was all fun and games at first. I had a back-up, if you will, so I strode into our relationship fearlessly. I acted bold, maybe too bold at times. I crossed her borders, and flirted with her distant neighbors, but in the end I always came back to her, or more accurately, I was pulled back to her by a force I couldn’t quite explain at the time. If I’m to be completely honest, it didn’t start as love so much as fascination. She spoke a different language, and came from a different culture. The night life scene she exposed me to was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and her friends were like none I had ever had before. As a 21 year old with an eye for adventure, she was just what I was looking for. Towards the end of our first extended period together, we were still riding the high of our initial feelings for one another.

And yet, even then, there was something more to our relationship than just hedonism. Her favorite song, “the hope,” brought tears to my eyes long after we had separated for the first time. The sight of the blue and white that she always loved to wear brought back memories of late nights on the port, sun-sets over the beach, and the pride of being associated with something as beautiful and dignified as her, my first true love.

When I came back to her, two and half years older, and just a little bit wiser, I was still in love. But this time, I came back not just to love her, but to defend her, and as a result the nature of our relationship changed. Our love became more intense, and with that change came hardship. It was no longer late nights and full days spent hung-over in bed. Now it was early mornings and hard work. In the first half year we spent together after we were reunited, I worked harder than I ever worked in my life for her. We spent every moment together, and that can be taxing at times. A little bit of distance is healthy in a relationship, but I forfeited that luxury when I took a vow to defend her.

I had changed as well. I no longer had a back-up. No longer did I flirt with her neighbors. Now I was hers, and hers alone, and committing yourself fully to someone is a scary thing. When you put it all on the line, you have a lot to lose. But ultimately, that’s the only way to get real satisfaction from a relationship (I know, funny coming from me).

It’s June 25th of 2011 now, nearly three years to the day from that afternoon in late June of 2008 when we first fell in love. While Israel has had many lovers before me and will have many more after me, I feel a connection to her that is unique. I pledged my allegiance to her, and I defend her with all of my heart and with all of my time. And as I struggle to love her, she rewards me with moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. Last week, she even rewarded me with a red beret. Our relationship continues to be a difficult one. Defending her takes more from me than I knew that I had in me to give, but that comes with the territory. Nobody ever said love was easy. They just said it was worth it.

20 Responses to “Post 40: Phases of Love”

  1. Susan Liebeskind Says:

    Corey – Mazel tov on receiving your red beret. Israel is so blessed to have you. Susan & Pete

  2. Aunt Rho & Uncle Vic Says:

    Corey, Once again, you have let us into your heart of hearts. We have such overwhelming respect and admiration for you and the extraordinary man you have become. We wish you Mazel-tov on receiving your Red Beret. Israel is truly blessed to have you as her lover.

  3. Julie Platt Says:

    We love you and we thank you – Mazal Tov – we are so glad your parents were there to witness this enormous accomplishment. We all miss you very much, Julie, Marc and all the Platts

  4. Andrew Says:

    Great stuff my man. Congrats on the red beret.

  5. Aunt Joyce Saltman Says:

    Dearest Great-nephew Corey (and I mean “great” in every way!)-
    This is truly one of the most beautiful love letters i have ever been privileged to read, and I am even prouder of you than ever (and i never thought that was possible, given how proud I have always been of your brilliance, your personality, your good looks, and your amazing reports in High School!) I am so blessed to be related to you and so happy to be able to share in your achievements as you have grown into a caring, brave and wonderful man!!!
    love always, Aunt J

  6. Tomer Ravon Says:

    Corey !
    Kol Hakavod !!!
    Hope to C U Soon

    Tomer

  7. Debra Feldman Says:

    You know what the Beatles said “All you need is…. “. Another beautiful piece of thinking and writing.
    Mazel Tov on receiving your red beret! Your cousin Samantha is on her way to see you- she leaves in a few hours!
    Missing you.
    Aunt Debbie

  8. Jeff Latz Says:

    Corey, Thanks so much for including me and sharing these posts with all of us lucky enough to read them. You are an amazing young man and I am so proud to have spent some time with you when you were a kid! Congratulations and keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to all of us!

  9. Gil Makleff Says:

    From one red beret wearer (from ancient history) to another …great job i know how hard it can be at times…you are a very unique individual and full of values like pirkei avot says (freely translated by me) there are old containers with no content but there are young containers full to the brim…you seem to be the second type….keep strong and good luck…we only met briefly at Sharon and Niel’s house before you went to the military but i was impressed then and continue to be as i read your blog…if you ever need anything dont hesitate to mail me…Gil.

  10. Tom Says:

    Much respect and great writing. Will be joining you in Tzahal in the near future.

  11. Debbie Doppelt Says:

    Corey Kol Ha Kavod! what a beautiful piece of writing. Israel is lucky to have you and so are all of us. Thank you for your dedication !! Love The Doppelts

  12. baruch deutsch Says:

    please include badbaruch@aol.com in all your updates
    ale ve atzlach !

  13. Jane Says:

    Corey,
    We had dinner with your parents last night. They are so proud of you! Congrats on your red beret! Stay safe.
    Love, Rick and Jane

  14. Jennifer Says:

    Corey,
    I don’t know how your blog made it to my PC…via my husbands office. We live in Pgh, PA and my son leaves, with Garin Tzabar, on the August 15th flight to Israel. He too will go to Kibbutz Yiftach. He too wants to join Seyerot Matkal (sp?). I have read your posts with complete interest and sometimes with tears in my eyes. My son (Eli) is only 19, does not have your maturity. But perhaps in reading your words it will help him succeed. Thank you.

  15. Sophie Bass Says:

    Oh my God, such beautiful writing. Keep up with the wonderful writings

  16. Beverly & Ray Broth Says:

    Hi Corey. I am not one for letter writing or even using this darn machine but we have been keeping up with your blogs since the first time that Aunt Sydel informed us and they and you are amazing. You have her and your mother’s gift for writing aside from that to say that we are very proud of you is putting it mildly. Our families have not spent much time together but your mother grew up with our twins and made them into triplets and we love and cherish all of your family. Your amazing commentary has been and continues to be nothing less than fantastic and I truly believe that you or your parents should start putting these together in book form and someday publish it so that your writing could inspire other young people as no older person could ever accomplish. Our grandson Steven (Fran’s youngest) enlisted in the Navy and voulunteered for the elite Navy section refererred to as SWCCC and is and has been going through training similar to yours so we know first hand what you have gone through to accomplish the darning of the red beret and for that alone we and all that know and love you are extremely proud of you. With love and respect and best wishes……Bev & Ray of Sarasota, Florida

  17. lisa leffell Says:

    Corey,
    this is the most beautiful, moving piece of writing. “she” is so lucky to have you, as are we all.
    with love, the leffells

  18. shir the coolest girl Says:

  19. shir the coolest girl Says:

    ( arkadi duchin in love with Israel!)

  20. Zamir Says:

    Inspiring stuff, achi! I know I’m late to the club as this was written over two years ago now, but I thank you deeply nonetheless. Your writing is beautiful. I too, hope to one day, don a red beret myself, as you have. My love for “her” is much the same as yours my brother, so, once again, I thank you for defending her. In the coming year, it will be my turn.

    Much love,
    Your new friend from New Zealand

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