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Hila - To my Eli, for being an anchor, a home and a true partner


Rakefet - To all my loves: Sheked, Neta,and Ella. Toni, my sister and Yael, who overcame everything with me.


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A Room of Their Own

Rakefet Yarden and Hila Kreimer Dan-Ber

Copyright © 2020 Rakefet Yarden & Hila Kreimer Dan-Ber

All rights reserved; No parts of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information retrieval system, without the permission, in writing, of the author.

Translation from the Hebrew by Maya Thomas

Contact: Room4them@gmail.com





First Meeting



Third Meeting

Intake: Dani Freedman


Fourth Meeting



Fifth Meeting



Spoiled Brat

Sixth Meeting



Seventh Meeting

Morning with Yulia

Last Night I Met a Jackal

Eighth Meeting



Ninth Meeting

Dani Has a Bit of a Low Self-Image

Tenth Meeting



Eleventh Meeting


Writing Instead of Cutting: Twelfth Meeting

Four Months to Solve This Thing

Thirteenth Meeting


Fourteenth Meeting



The Dietetic Meeting

A Time for Freedom


My Own Private Theater

Of Life and Death


Back with You Again

Just One Reason to Live

Rotem Golan Goes to the Golan

Four Legs and a Full Heart

Registered Mail

Here to Help

Dani Is Way Behind

Speeches and Tears

Tying Up Desires as You Would Horses

Hand, Fur, Hand

Registered Mail II


Give Me a Reason to Believe that the Sadness Has an End

A Butterfly with Transparent Wings



Message from the Author

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

— Mary Oliver


Pain pierced my stomach like a nail stabbing the stomach lining, but from the inside out. I’d recently felt that the skin on my stomach and back was peeling again. I lifted my shirt, but I couldn’t see anything except for protruding ribs and a sunken bellybutton. I’m always told that I have a beautiful bellybutton, but I think it’s a strange compliment. What can be that beautiful about a bellybutton? And what’s so beautiful about other body parts anyway? What is it that makes some of them more beautiful than others?

The pangs wouldn’t stop, even after a few minutes. I grabbed the jeans that had been tossed over the couch and quickly got dressed. I whistled to Miko and he leaped with joy from his seat on the couch. A walk in the park will do us both some good and we may even reach the beach. I shut the door behind me before realizing that I hadn’t taken his leash. Miko, however, was already way ahead of me, on the next flight of stairs. I heard him yelping for me to make a move already.

“Wait a minute, buddy! I’m getting your leash,” I said out loud. I’ve always chatted with the various dogs who lived with us. Miko’s been with me for two years now, ever since my early discharge from the army.

I had decided to move straight into an apartment, skipping the stage of moving back in with the parents while working, saving some money and deciding what I wanted to do. Dad didn’t like the idea, and Mom didn’t offer her opinion. Basically, they’re passive regarding their involvement in my decisions. Not out of some educational agenda, but rather for lack of attention or availability because if it’s not a matter of life and death, we three are the exclusive masters of our own decisions.

Miko waited for me at the dilapidated entrance to my building, the three hues of his fur illuminated by the streetlights. In a past lifetime, you were a knight, I think. His blue eye, singular, alongside his tall stature, often tend to scare passersby, and each time I hope that someone will finally notice how unique he is. He’s got a huge heart and easy-going temper. Why do people give such importance to appearances? I advanced through Sderot Yerushalayim and turned west. An autumn breeze fluttered from the direction of the Mediterranean. I could feel the waves’ saltiness slicing through my skin, disintegrating the stabbing pangs. My steps were swift and sharp, and as we headed further west, the pain in my stomach subsided. There were hardly any people out on the street during that late at night but I wasn’t scared.

It was already after midnight. The streets were slowly quieting down, few lights peering through the windows of the houses and big buildings of Jaffa and South Tel Aviv. An amputee beggar was sleeping under a moldy blanket at the edge of the sidewalk, next to an office building. I stuffed my hand deep into my pocket and pulled out a few coins. I looked for a cup or a hat to put them in and finally found a makeshift plastic container with a few measly coins in it. No one had really taken the trouble to give him more valuable coins. Sad. I wanted to wake him up and invite him over to my place. I imagined the sheets I’d put out for him on the couch, the hot coffee we’d drink together in the morning, and how he’d tell me his life’s story and his hardships.

I’ve always wanted to help people in need, but because I didn’t really know how to go about it, I turned to animals instead. I once brought home a baby swallow that had fallen out of its nest. Another time it was a kitten who had cried in the bushes for hours on end. Each and every time, Dad would always dismiss it as being nature’s way, saying that I should stop bringing home every miserable creature I find, that they’ll eventually die anyway and it’ll just make me sadder. As if he ever really cared if and why I was sad. I was forced to return the kitten to the bushes. I spent the whole night thinking that I could hear him crying from hunger and cold. I cried into my pillow from the pain of it. With the baby swallow, I already knew enough to hide it in my shirt, and that way I managed to secretly take care of it for a few days until the cleaner found it. “Malkishuah,” I called the bird, and under Dad’s orders the

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