The Trauma of Lost Treasure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Daniel Rawlings April 15th 2004

In loving memory of Haguy Pinkz, Asaf Yuran, and Guy Saviyon I dedicate the following.

As a teenager, you wait for that blessed day when you receive your driver’s license. And once you have earned it, you still have a two-month period of supervised driving chaperoned by an experienced driver. After that, you are as free as a bird to explore the country.

It’s graduation night for the kids attending the Har El School in Mevasseret Zion, sitting on the hills of Jerusalem. In this neighborhood there is a tradition for those who finish senior year, called “rondo”! That is everyone who has a car or can borrow one drives around with his closest mates and they drive in a parade one after the other honking and waving flags and generally disturbing the peace. After this celebration of joy, the students go to the neighboring village, an Arab village Abu Gosh. With classes behind them now, and just one or two exams left, everyone is hyped up by the great prospects of a long summer waiting before going to the army. Everyone meets there and talks brightly about their plans for the summer and their futures over Arab coffee, sweets and nargeelah.

Friends that I grew up with were the center of the celebrations. Being the life of the party, they were the last to leave for home just five minutes up the hill. With faces covered with the grins of freedom five boys jumped into the Mazda to head for home. As they were driving up one hill to reach the next the driver lost control on one of the turns, hit one sidewalk on the right, hit the other sidewalk on the left, which threw the vehicle into one tree on the left side, and another tree on the right side and one in front. The car bounced from one tree to another as though it were in a pinball machine crashing to an abrupt stop. The metal was twisted and crushed up like wad of paper.

An eerie silence filled the night air. Only one of the passengers never lost consciousness. He was sitting in the passenger seat, and vividly recalls every moment of the horror. He was in shock and slowly turned to see how the guys in the back seat were. The one in the middle couldn’t answer when spoken to. He was making strange groaning sounds. The fella on the left side and the other on the right were both slumped over him. His eyes were riveted to the strange shape of the roof overhead. It was flattened over both of the boys sitting by the doors, but formed a hood over the head of the boy in the middle.

Then he his attention turned to the driver whose face was in the steering wheel, his head flew back, and the seat belt appeared to be choking him. Immediately the boy in the front seat undid the belt and held the drivers head to the side as the blood poured out. He realized there was nothing he could do, and the throbbing pain in one of his hands took his attention. He also realized that his door was banged and hammered shut by the force of the impact. He was a prisoner. Blackness ruled until the sound the ambulances and the circling red light broke its power.

My Mom and Dad were having breakfast in the kitchen later that morning when the phone rang it my friend Shlomi urgently he insisted “Where’s Daniel, I have to speak to him right now!”
“Hi, Shloms” my Mom said, “listen, Daniel is four flights up, please call his cell.”

My cell rang almost immediately. “Hello?”
“Daniel”, he was breathless, “Gal, Asaf, Ayal, Guy and Haguy were in an accident last night.”
“Guy and Haguy are dead!”
“What, where are Guy and Ayal?”
“In the hospital.”
“Where are you? ”
“At school ”
“I’ll get a taxi and pick you up.”

I stuffed the phone into my pocket, raced down stairs to tell my folks who called me a cab. Shlomi and I went immediately to Hadassah Ein Kerem. A few other class mates were already there arguing with the nurses to see Gal who was getting stitched up and having x rays taken. We insisted upon seeing him and persisted until we stood before Gal, lying on a hospital bed as white as the sheets that surrounded him. He had had a black out, and remembered nothing. He knew that he was at the hospital but didn’t know how he got there. He asked us questions about Guy, Haguy and Asaf. The only thing that we could say to him was that “they are in critical condition even though we knew by now that two of them were dead.” The medical team informed us that the driver had sustained very serious head injuries and lay in intensive care with life support. Edema to his brain was being closely monitored.

Just a few hours later we were standing in Givat Shual to attend the two funerals of our brothers. We helped cover the bodies with the brown soil.

For that next whole week and a half, the hospital became the second home of dozens of classmates and friends. Asaf the driver was clinging to life, and we were clinging right along with him. We swapped pop, cookies, a space on the floor to sleep and stories.

When I was allowed to go into his room in the intensive care unit and I saw him, I think it is the hardest thing I have ever done. He was lying there lifeless, white, and pale and I knew the only thing keeping him alive were the machines. I had a glimmer of hope that he was going to make it. I went up close and touched his hand and forehead and spoke into his ear.

A week and a half later we received notice that Asaf passed away. Again we stood in Givat Shual, this time it was Asaf’s grave.

Guy was accepted to the submarines in the IDF. He was a nice and quiet kid.

HaGuy was accepted into computers in the IDF. He was a genius. He was the one who always had a smile on his face. His mother died exactly nine years to the day in a car accident. He was buried in the burial plot beside her.

Asaf was fun loving and out going and would always joke with you not at you!