The rest of the day Iím a complete zombie. Itís cold and rainy and I want to be home taking a bath. I worry that Seth wonít call but then think, you donít even like the guy, heís peculiar. Still, I keep checking my messages to see if heís called. Finally, much later, he does call and leaves a message that he had a nice time, to give him a call, although heís going to bed fairly soon. So I call him once Iím out of the bath and when he hears that Iím on the line his voice picks up, Hi! he says, but our conversation is strained, and I canít remember who says we should go out again but I suggest Saturday night and he says that should be ok but he needs to check his calendar at work and heíll let me know. I say we should see a play and then act nonchalant, but inside Iím wondering, What is happening with this guy? Are we dating? Do I even like him or do I just want to like him? We donít talk for the rest of the week. We email a bit, but his emails are disappointing and humorless, and then he sends me an explanation: he doesnít like email because itís so impersonal, that he prefers the phone.
We make a plan for that Saturday evening to see a play, and when Saturday rolls around Iím trying not to get too excited. What if I end up disappointed? At the play we sit in the back row and eventually I reach for his hand and that unleashes his affection once again: he puts his arms around me and pulls me toward him, he nuzzles my face and hair with his lips, he kisses me, he holds my hand. During the intermission when Iím waiting in the line for the womenís bathroom that wraps all the way into the foyer of the theater, he comes over as if heís going to wait with me and says that I should have brought a book because the line is so long. Sweet, I think. Afterwards we walk a few blocks to a bistro called Johnís and we have kind of a deep conversation about Israel and God and Judaism. He says that he does believe in God, but not in a God that is standing above us, rewarding all good behavior, punishing all bad. There is randomness in the universe, I tell him. He wonít let me pay for dinner again and he asks what I want to do next. I say I want to continue spending time with him. He suggests we go back to his place, and I agree, readily. So we run and catch a cab and head over to his new townhouse.
We start on the couch and immediately begin kissing. Itís like my bodyís already a step ahead of my cautious inner voice for while Iím telling myself, Hold back! Who is this guy? Be careful! my bodyís saying, Take me! Love me! Hold me! We kiss and kiss and I take off my glasses and soon he asks if I want to move upstairs to the bedroom where itís more comfortable so I agree and then weíre on his bed, again groping and hugging and kissing. He turns the light off but immediately turns it back on, Youíre too good not to see, he says. And again his touch is electric and again he laps me up like a decadent treat. Dessert! he even says, the flash of a dimple appearing on his cheek. This time he even smiles. I like you, I say to him. I like you, too, he says. Soon weíre just holding each other and he says that heís so careful to choose his words and here I say whatever I think Ė like how I told him his haircut was funny (Gulp, I think) or how I said to him after we first kissed, So much tongue! Or how I told him that Orange Crush is disgusting. Well, it is, I say again. Then he quotes, verbatim, from our very first phone conversation when he had said that someone we both know reminds him of Barbara Streisand in the movie, Funny Girl, and I responded, exasperated, Yes, but Fanny Brice is a fictional character. Hearing him repeat our conversation Iím puzzled: What does my comment even mean? He says he doesnít know, that he assumed it was some kind of feminist point and I say, You should start listening less, youíll be happier. Later I say, and all this time I thought you werenít listening and he says that he absorbs everything, that he remembers everything.
Soon I tell him that I should get home, that I miss my dog, and he agrees, almost too readily, jumping up to get dressed, so I start to drag it out, reluctant to leave. But then I begin dressing and he comes around behind me until I feel his breath on my neck. He gently rubs his hands up and down my waist and hips. Do I have a Jewish body, you know, curvy? I ask. And he says, You donít have a Jewish body and curves are good. Then he bends down and zips up my boots for me, the ones that go all the way to my knees. On the drive back home, in his new car, heís funny, although I canít remember what he says, and then he talks about work and how much he has going on and he seems stressed out and again I worry. And then weíre at my place and he kisses me and I ask for more tongue so he puts the car in park and puts his hand on the small of my back and pulls me close and really kisses me, with tongue, like he means it. So I say goodnight and step onto the sidewalk and then wonder, What is this?
Straight Eye for the Consumer Guy
I'll Say Goodbye and Let you Go
Three Jewish Books on Sadness
The Other Jews: Secularism, Kabbalah and Radical Poetics
A Jewish Masterpiece
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Jews, Goddesses, and the Zohar
Empowering Jewish Progressives