Christopher only asked for directions once, but it was already night by the time he dropped me off at the Hetzbasheket campground. The glow of the lanterns barely pierced through the heavy darkness of the desert. I smiled. Here, surely, in the natural tranquility of the Negev, would I receive my long-awaited moment of inspiration.
"Hello? Is anybody there?" I looked on from behind the wooden fence, searching for movement from within the tents, then finally heard footsteps on the gravel.
"Hi!" A girl with blond braids and shining eyes smiled warmly at me.
"Come on in! The owner isn't back yet, but make yourself at home."
She swung open the gate and guided me to a large tent where her friends had been waiting.
"Are you hungry? Shall we make something to eat?" I accepted, surprised but thankful for their warm welcome.
In their makeshift kitchen, Emily explained that they had all just graduated from high school in Jerusalem. "Now it's time to have some fun! We'll be starting our two years military service in September..." I winced, remembering the kids at the mall who had been strolling around with assault rifles on their backs.
Still smiling, cheeks rosy, Emily showed me how to dice an onion by turning it only one time. Strange, imagining this kind, young girl with a gun in hand...