Countdown (Part 2 of 2)

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A195 countdown

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Written by Noa. Noa is an experienced Jewrotica writer.

This is a continuation of “Countdown (Part 1 of 2)“. Countdown is the prequel of “Shinui / Change“. “Shinui / Change” can be read as a prequel to “In Total Darkness“.

Rated PG-13I sit down on a swing. It’s the sturdy kind, with large plastic-reinforced metal chains holding up a thick rubber seat. I expect him to take the empty swing next to me, but instead he walks around and stands behind me.

“Shall I?” he asks, reaching his hands out.

He can’t possibly mean to push me.

He winks. “Don’t you trust me?” he says.

I do, absolutely and without hesitation, so I nod.

He closes his hands around the chains and begins to push me on the swing. When I come backwards at him, he catches the chains with his thumbs – gently so that I don’t get snapped backward – and then lets me go.

And so it goes, back and forth.

Technically, we’re not breaking any halachot. Not yichud: the park is public property, we’re out in the open, and the occasional car does pass by. Not negiah: he’s not touching me.


He’s so close, though, that I imagine I can in fact feel his fingers not touching me.

He’s so careful. I wonder if his fingers will be so careful, so focused, when they’re on me. When they’re on my naked skin.

This is so not the spirit of the law.

I feel aware all over. All of the places that I can’t wait for him to touch me are tingling, and every time I land his hands are this close to my hips, and I’m going to combust if this keeps up.

What I need to do is get out of here, run as fast as I can to my bedroom, lock the door and rub furiously until I can breathe again. But… that would be rude.

“I’m going to jump,” I warn him.

“Okay.” He pushes again.

“One,” I count, and swing back towards him. His fingers half an inch away from me.

“Two,” I say as I go forward, and let myself fall back to him one more time. I almost hope that he’ll stop me, that he’ll catch the swing and puts his arms around me, but of course I don’t really want him to do that, and he doesn’t.

“Three!” I fling myself from the swing and fly through the air. As a kid, I was always too chicken to jump off swings. I would go as high as anyone else, but I wouldn’t let go, ever. Tonight, I’m fearless.

I land on my hands and knees, laughing. Then I turn to see him, and the look on his face as he watches me…I’m soaring again.

Maybe I should jump the gun. Just a little bit. I go to the mikvah five nights from now. Afterwards, I can put on that little purple thing given to me by our mothers – how mortifying, the idea that our mothers conspired and picked something out and said, Yes, perfect, this is what my daughter should wear in bed with your son – and a trenchcoat, and go to his place.

I’ll knock on the door, and when he answers I’ll say, Go get your roommates so they can see us going into your bedroom, we’ll do this the old-fashioned way, after all “ha’isha nikneit b’shalosh drachim” and if it’s good enough for the mishna it’s good enough for us (this is not true as a general rule but I’ll count it for this), and we’ll swear your roommates to secrecy even though that defeats the purpose of being witnesses in the first place.

The only problem is dam betulim and how then we wouldn’t be able to touch at the actual wedding, and it would completely ruin the pictures.

I won’t do it. But now I can’t get the image out of my head, him and me and that purple thing, him taking the purple thing off of me with his careful fingers –

I turn over and lie back on the dewy grass and try not to squirm; I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and try to relax my body. This must be the real reason why the bride and groom don’t see each other the week before the wedding.

And why did I let him talk me into this again?

“Shev.” My eyes fly open, and there he is. While I was trying to neutralize my hormones, he came over to the grass and sat down by me. But the way he says my name, I immediately realize that he didn’t just come over and invite me for a walk at three in the morning just to push me on a swing.

I roll to my side and lean on my left arm. “You okay?”

“My father called me today. He’s flying in tomorrow.”

Well, that’s… complicated. “I thought he wasn’t supposed to get here until the day before.”

“Surprise!” he says in a bitter tone. “He wants to take me out to dinner tomorrow.”

“Are you going to go?”

“Of course I’m going to go; he’s my father.” He pulls out a clump of grass. My hand itches to pull his away, to relax him.

Of course he’s going to go; it’s his father. And he’s going to be respectful but distant, and afterwards he’s going to thank him for the meal, and then he’s going to go home and stew.

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Noa believes in romance, friendship and justice. She doesn't, however, believe in the Oxford comma.
  • Ayo Oppenheimer

    So if this is the prequel to all the other pieces, do we get a pre-prequel of Shev’s life as a teenager? 🙂

    • Noa

      Wouldn’t you like to know!

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