She vomits the moment the ship finds its place against the Haifa dock.
"I've been waiting for your seasickness to come back," he tries to joke, holding back her hair a little too late, the front locks wet and ruined. She stands and shakes over the toilet, taking deep and shuddering breaths.
"It took a while," she says, slowly, smiling in spite of everything, "to say hello." It takes a moment for her to vomit a second time, as if for luck.
"Maybe it was shy this time." Slowly he releases her hair, strokes the back of her head. "Are you going to wash up again before we leave?"
She nods, careful of the tips of her hair, and pulls her shirt off with trembling hands. He gives her a bit of privacy, and as she rinses out her hair she cries a little. But only a little; when she comes back out, hair dripping, he mistakes the redness around her nose and eyes for the heat of the water.
In his hands she recognizes the slip of paper, the ink bleeding through just a little. The letter had come so many months ago; she smiles as she looks at it. It holds the address of a decent hotel in Haifa, directions to the train station, directions to their final destination in Tel Aviv, near Jaffa. He grins when he notices her glance.
"We're all prepared," he says, gesturing to their bags, packed and ready on the wrinkled bed. It's just his suitcase and hers, and an extra knapsack for anticipated souvenirs: their only belongings for a three-week stay. He folds the letter carefully and places it in that nice blue jacket pocket before picking up his suitcase, offering to carry hers if her stomach is still upset. She turns him down with a touched shake of her head, pulls the knapsack over her arms, and hefts up her own carpet bag.
With the crowd it takes a bit of time for them to work their way onto the deck and down the plank way; all is chaos with snatches of Hebrew and Yiddish, Polish and English and Czech. There are family members calling to other family members; people embrace and cry all around them. There is enough commotion, enough shoving and weaving, that they are too distracted to notice when their feet touch solid ground for the first time in weeks.
The Promised Land.
They make their way as quickly and as peacefully as they can to an open space on the harbor, huffing under the strain of their luggage and the heat of the sun, although it's nowhere near as warm as the country they just left. They find a free bench, feet and yards away from the chaos of the disembarking, and finally sit, and slow, and smile.
The Promised Land.
"We're here." It's stupid in her mouth but she feels so compelled to say it, so terribly compelled. After everything, everything—they are here. The air feels different, the wind feels different. The sun is a warm embrace and not a scorching flame. She reaches for his hand, cups her fingers between his thumb and pointer as he rests it on his thigh. He squeezes, and sighs, leans against the wooden bench and feels very, very old.
"We're here," he repeats, and it sounds so much better on his tongue.