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Written by Charles Rammelcamp. Charles is a first time Jewrotica writer. Charles Rammelkamp’s latest book is entitled “Fusen Bakudan” (“balloon bombs” in Japanese), a sequence of poems involving missionaries in a leper colony in Vietnam during the war (Time Being Books). A chapbook is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press entitled “Mixed Signals”.
She came into his thoughts quite accidentally, a girl he’d known more than three decades earlier, a little more than a one-night stand, somebody he’d known for a week or two. An Italian girl – Italian-American. It was another Saturday morning, and he lay in bed with the classical music station playing a Strauss waltz on the radio. As always, he was nearly paralyzed at the thought of having to get up and re-invent himself for another full day ahead.
Ever since Ketzel died, Eisenberg had been at odds. His life seemed over. He was fifty-nine. You could put “only” in front of that to indicate all the things that might still be in the cards – retirement, grandchildren. But, coupled with his – what did you call it? Erectile dysfunction? Impotence? – and his disinclination to meeting, dating, wooing somebody new, it seemed like he was just putting in time, just waiting to die now. Despite whatever diversions or entertainments or distractions lay ahead, the main story was already over. There was no more “going forward.” Life in retrospect.
So maybe, since he was inclined to the past tense already, it wasn’t such an accident after all that he’d remembered – whatever her name was – Somebody Francioli. Cathy? Gina? Angela? Any of them could have worked. But all at once he remembered talking to this girl over the phone for over an hour, in the kitchen of the house he shared in Watertown, Massachusetts, with a couple of other guys, she having called in response to a classified ad for a “Roommate Wanted” that Eisenberg and Bart had placed in the paper. A three-bedroom duplex; the third roommate was leaving in September to go to graduate school in California.
Gina (Cathy?) didn’t think the Watertown move would actually work out for her since she had a job in Dorchester and she relied on public transportation, needed a more convenient location, but they talked on the phone for at least an hour, and in the end, Angie (Annette?) invited him over to the place she was staying in Belmont – a bus ride, more or less, up the road.
When Eisenberg got there, Ginger! Yes, that was her name! Ginger Francioli! Remembering her name now, in his bedroom in Baltimore, the memory of what had happened took on a more erotic tone, as if he could pick up the phone and call her, as if he could just get in his car and drive over to that house in Belmont, Massachusetts right now. When she answered the door, Ginger had been wearing a red jersey dress, barely more than a shirt, coming down just over the tops of her thighs, a lithe young woman with long brown hair.
Eisenberg could not believe his luck. An Italian girl! A shikse! She could pass for Jewish with her dark good looks, but Eisenberg was a traditionalist to the extent that he knew he would never take her home to his mother and father, destined to marry a Jewish girl – not that matrimony had crossed his mind, looking at her sleek tanned legs, her ample bosom, the nipples provocatively dimpling the cotton of her dress, but something of the “off-limits” nature of her ethnicity added to the eroticism of the moment, no question.
Alone in the kitchen of her friend’s apartment, Ginger poured Eisenberg a glass of red wine. Soon enough the talk turned to sex – flirty, theoretical chatter, a prelude and an invitation – and before long Ginger was sitting in his lap at the kitchen table. He ran his hands across her tanned thighs, stroking them gently, nuzzling his face into her hair. They were silent as he caressed her legs, his hands moving closer to her crotch with each stroke; the jersey dress had ridden all the way up her hips.
And then he touched it – the G-spot – and this was the memory that charged him up, lying in his bed on a Saturday morning listening to Strauss on the radio, and although he was no longer able to pull up and down on a firm, rope-thick shaft, he was able to rub himself against his belly, and as he remembered again the moment his fingers – the middle three – came against the damp fabric of her panties, he felt his breath quicken and stick in his throat. Yes, the yielding of the fabric as his fingers sank into her, probing the moist warmth of her sex. And Ginger twisting then on his lap, her mouth open for a kiss as his fingers pushed inside her through the underpants. And it was this thought that brought on his orgasm, the sensation in his groin radiating down his legs, bringing perspiration to the soles of his feet while his belly took the gooey discharge, the puddle of sticky come. He didn’t even have to play the whole scene in his head, when they’d moved on to the bedroom.
And then he lay there in his bed basking in the triumph of his release as the Strauss ended and the lady with the cultured British accent announced the next selection, a Brahms overture (ova-tyou-uh).
Only, then the loneliness of his life came flooding back. A single man, his Ketzel two years dead now after a brief fight with cancer, his children grown and becoming strangers, people he used to know, and by the digital clock it was now only 8:45. The whole day yawned before him, demanding to be filled.
But as it turned out, over the next few months Eisenberg kept returning to his memory of Ginger Francioli, the red jersey, the soft yielding of her thinly covered sex. He’d been what, twenty-seven? All done with graduate school and looking for a job. Hadn’t met Ketzel yet, not for another year when they’d both wind up working at B.U. in the Admissions Office. Twenty-seven: the age when tragic rock stars died. It was funny how little time you really had to be young. You didn’t really come into your full independence until your mid-twenties and then soon enough the gray hairs started; your hearing and eyesight got weaker; you started to groan and grunt; movements required effort. Eisenberg thought of the Housman poem, “To an Athlete Dying Young,” and wondered if he’d been better off going the way of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Of course, Cobain had been a suicide, shot himself. But he’d never have met Ketzel, of course, and they’d never have had Simon, Amy and Martin.
Eisenberg had always assumed he’d die before Ketzel. She was five years younger than he and had genetics on her side. Not that it guaranteed anything, obviously, but both of her parents were still going strong at ninety-five, and she’d had a healthier lifestyle – the diet, the exercise. Besides, women usually do outlive their men, or so it seemed to Eisenberg. He remembered sitting at dinner with his father, then just seventy, and four other women, one of whom was his wife. It had struck him then with a kind of poignancy that Aunt Jane, Aunt Rhoda and Aunt Mabel were all widows now and only his father and mother were still a living set of parents, and how much longer would that last? Three years, as it turned out. That was when his father had the massive heart attack while mowing his lawn.
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