Ephraim left the house in a tiff, slamming the door hard to make a statement. This was the end. She'd gone too far. The kitchen was a mess when he came downstairs to make himself breakfast. She, of course, was still sleeping. The dishes were dirty; the pots were still on the stove, not a dishcloth to be found.

He had told her endless times that it bothered him to find the house like this, day after day. She used to reply, "I'm not going to be a slave to your concept of cleanliness. If it bothers you, you clean up," and in the beginning he started doing dishes, sweeping the floor, collecting the kids' toys and schoolbags which were spread all over the house.

They had many fights about it, he recalled as he started the car and drove to work. In the end she agreed at least to make things tidy before he came home. But then the babies came one after another, and she began to slide back into her old habits—slothful habits, he reminded himself, thinking back to his mother's warning: "That girl isn't for you; she doesn't know the first thing about housekeeping and she doesn't care."

How right she was, his beloved mother, of sacred memory. She always kept an immaculate home; it was a pleasure to step into the kitchen. He parked the car in front of his office and kept recalling how things had come to such a head.

When the babies were tiny, she'd get up several times a night to feed them and comfort them; so, of course she couldn't get up to see him off in the morning. But that was years ago. The kids now got themselves out to school and she remained sleeping, out of habit—bad habit. What did she really do for them all? It was all on him—making a living, doing the shopping, all the errands, and no sign of appreciation or remorse. Well, he had had enough. Today, he thought, as he waved to his co-workers in the office and sat down hard on his chair, today I'm going through with a divorce. Ephraim made an appointment to meet with his friend Marvin, an expert on divorce proceedings, during his lunch break. "How sorry she will be now," he thought almost with glee.

The morning flew by with the regular meetings, phone calls to clients, paper work, and all along he was watching the clock, looking forward to his appointment with Marvin, enjoying the moment he envisioned, the "talk," when he would mention casually, "I've started divorce procedures today." As he was walking out of his office, he saw a few colleagues huddled around the radio, looking serious. "There's been another terrorist attack in town; someone blew himself up on Rehov Jaffa. Shh… Listen!" The radio announced the facts—20 wounded so far, 2 killed, but the numbers were expected to rise.

"Where on Rehov Jaffa?" Ephraim asked apprehensively.

The radio announcer repeated his spiel as if in reply: "At 12:15 a bomb exploded on Rehov Jaffa, corner of Rehov Hillel, outside of Café Aroma. At least 22 people are being evacuated to hospitals; 3, no 5, known killed."

All around Ephraim workers were frantically calling their loved ones. Ephraim suddenly remembered that Aliza usually went to her beauty parlor on Rehov Hillel that day. His throat went dry. He called her cell number; no answer. She always answered her cell. He looked up the number, his hands were shaking. He found two parlors on Rehov Hillel. The first one told him that no one by that name was in their shop; the second number didn't answer. What to do now? The radio was announcing numbers of hospitals to call for information. He started calling around.

"Information Center," answered a woman with an Anglo-Saxon accent.

"Do you have anyone by the name of Aliza Cohen?" Ephraim inquired. The woman (a social worker it turned out) asked him to wait a minute.

"No, nobody by that name here. Wait, I'll check if she's listed in the other hospitals." A moment later she returned and said, "No, that name doesn't appear on any list. Why do you think she might be hospitalized?" asked the social worker.

Ephraim told her, in a voice he hardly recognized, that she didn't answer her cell phone and that she was expected to be in the vicinity of the terrorist attack at that hour.

Ephraim could hear many phones going off at the other end. "We do have several unidentified…" Here the social worker paused. "People who were brought in – who can't talk and have no identity papers on them. Can you describe Aliza?"

Ephraim felt himself almost crying, "She's very beautiful; she's got blond hair, she's 42 years old."

The woman on the other side of the line prompted him, "Any identifying body marks? How tall is she? Color of eyes?"

He realized the social worker was filling out a form, even as she tried to be helpful. "She's about five feet tall, she's got um…green/brown eyes." Then he broke down altogether.

The woman was very kind. She took his phone numbers and promised to investigate. She assured him that many times when there's a terrorist attack cell phones in the area don't work; many times people aren't where they were supposed to be. But Ephraim knew his wife; she never missed her beauty parlor appointment.

"Oh G‑d! What will I do?"

His friend, Chaim, offered to take him to the hospital, instead of waiting to hear if Aliza was among the unidentified. "And what if…what if she was dead?" Ephraim felt such anguish, an overpowering feeling of loss and devastation…he couldn't stop crying. He hadn't cried since his mother died. All his earlier emotions of frustration, anger and a desire for revenge were completely forgotten. "Oh G‑d, please, please let her be alive," he prayed all the way to the hospital.

There must have been 200 people desperately looking for relatives descending on the hospital. The Information Center had long lines of desks, with phones ringing non-stop. Some were led to the emergency room or outside the operation theater where their loved ones were being treated. "Those are the lucky ones," thought Ephraim, supported by his friend, Chaim. Others were led into closed cubicles and came out, either hysterical or with red eyes. Those were being sent to Abu Kabir, to identify – bodies. There were now over 45 wounded and 12 dead. "Not in that room, please G‑d," Ephraim prayed as he'd never prayed before, "not in that room."

While he waited his turn to meet with a social worker he called his children. They were fine but none of them had seen their mother. They weren't worried because she was often out somewhere when they came home from school. They didn't know she was scheduled to be in the exact spot where the attack took place and he didn't tell them of course. Ephraim took out his book of Psalms and continued to pray with all his heart.

All along his mind reeled, of their happy life together; of their dates before they decided to marry; how much he wanted her to be his wife; their first little caravan which dripped in winter from the rain and was boiling in the summer, but how it became their own little Garden of Eden. He thought of their first child, and what a wonderful feeling it was to hear him say, "Abba" and "Ima" for the first time; the worries together when the children were sick; how supportive she was when his mother deteriorated; how she was always so beautiful and he was proud to see her across the room at a celebration, and say to himself, "That's my wife."

"Oh G‑d," he groaned, as he remembered his plans for that day. "Only let her live; even if she's maimed, only let her be alive," he prayed into his book of psalms.

His cell phone went off. He thought it might be the social worker. "Hello," he answered tentatively, wondering if it would be good news or bad.

"Hello Ephraim," it was Aliza. He jumped from his seat. "Aliza! Aliza, it's you! You're okay?" Everyone in the room was looking at him; he was shouting, he was crying, he was jumping up and down—but he didn't care.

"Yes, I'm fine. I knew you'd be worried because you know I go to Selina's on Wednesday. I was there…I saw it all. Ephraim, it was awful. My phone didn't work. The police closed off all the streets and I couldn't find a phone to call you for over an hour. Are the kids okay? You must have been so worried…"

"It doesn't matter," Ephraim said. "It doesn't matter, as long as you're safe…nothing matters."