Chaim

210 chaim

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Rated PG-13He looks at her with hungry eyes, waiting for her to say something. The desire he thought was gone renews at the sight of her dressed in her formfitting black dress, a hesitant purchase that he convinced her to buy despite her modesty. It has been so long since he bothered to even look at her. Now the dress reminds him of the sweetness that was once between them. Before they moved. Before he met Chaim. But that is all over now; he has decided to recommit himself to his beautiful wife. He thanks G-d that he has overcome his yetzer hara before his wife had discovered his secret affair. A slight slip, he reminds himself, I am not a homo, he convinces himself. But in the deepest heat of their tryst, he knew that his mind and body simply would never agree.

They started to battle the moment he saw Chaim at the mikvah, not daring to look anywhere except his torso, neither up nor down. His stomach was flat with soft downy hair curling over it. Chaim was the rabbi’s grandson, a man who was still trying to figure out his life and beliefs, all under the shadow of his illustrious grandfather. No wonder Chaim attracted him, they were both searching for something more and saw it in each other. Hidden within Chaim’s deep blue eyes and mischievous smile, he knew there might be answers to the nagging doubts in his mind.

But the answers never came, just more questions about sex and religion and the future and the added knowledge that he was the kind of person he always hated, a cheater, a liar, and a phony. Ultimately it was this self-hatred that made him kiss Chaim goodbye and continue suppressing that unorthodox part of him. He knows that he has made the right decision, that his momentary lapse will only strengthen his marriage, as long as his wife never finds out. There is now a door that most always stays locked and he is ready to withhold the key – even from himself.

His only regret is the pain he has caused Chaim, keeping him suspended while he debated his decision. He hopes that the rabbi will set Chaim up with a nice understanding girl sometime soon and let him forget their forbidden month together. His own memory starts to fade as his wife pulls the auburn wig off her head and turns to him. After months of self-imposed abstinence he is finally ready to be a husband again to his wife. She smiles at him softly and reaches out for his hands, tracing his creases with her index finger, an old habit of hers that had previously annoyed him, but now entrances him. He leans forward to kiss her pale lips, and at the moment that their twin lips touch, she pulls back, letting go of his hands.

Fear courses through his veins suddenly pounding the thought, she knows, she knows, she knows. A single tear falls down her cheek and she hurries to catch it. Better to confess first than wait for an accusation, he decides suddenly, beginning to tell his tale, at the same time that she begins to speak. They laugh uncomfortably, both pushing the other to go first until she stops suddenly and begins to cry in earnest. She tells him that it just happened and it’s no one’s fault, she never meant to hurt him. She has met someone else, someone who truly loves and appreciates her. He knows that he is a fool to ask for more details but he persists. Her name is Rivka, she says, and we met at the mikvah.


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  • Ayo Oppenheimer

    Well written. Thank you for sharing this piece with us.