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Written by Charles Rammelkamp. 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”. For more on Jewrotica by Charles, see Kitty and Reunion.
I was a graduate student in Philosophy at BU when I was invited over to the Hymans’ for dinner one Saturday evening. Ira was an Assistant Professor and I was his Teaching Assistant for a couple of his sections of the 101 Intro course. The Hymans lived in a Jewish neighborhood in Brookline, somewhere near Coolidge Corner. I lived in the student ghetto on Bay State Road near the university, in a four-story brownstone with a warren of apartments. I could never tell how many. I lived in the basement studio, and when I washed the dishes, the food scraps often mysteriously found their way onto the floor of the shower stall – brown rice, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, mostly. In those days I tried to eat healthfully and frugally according to some health-food store’s conception of “health.”
I jacked off a lot, too. I was an almost Dostoyevskian character living in the basement studio, always at the library researching papers on Nietzsche and Sartre and Kierkegaard – existentialism – eating my ascetic health food meals as if I were Raskolnikov with his samovar. Huddled over my writing desk at night, reading under the glow of a student lamp.
Somehow I thought that word itself, “existentialism,” would itself get me some pussy; some undergraduate girl would be impressed by my heavy intellectual bent, my seriousness, and fuck the living daylights out of me. But so far, that hadn’t happened.
So I jacked off a lot, in the mornings upon waking and before I went to bed at night and occasionally if I had a free afternoon, more often than not thinking of Rachel Weiss, her substantial tits and what had to be a lush, hairy pussy under her skirt. Rachel was a girl in one of the Philosophy 101 sections for which I was the TA, and I swore I could smell her pussy when she walked into class, undulating past me to her seat in the diaphanous blouse, the short jean skirt, her tits bouncing like balloons, unfettered by a brassiere; I was convinced she did not wear underwear, too, and watched for her to cross her legs in the third row. An exotic Jewish girl with dark good looks; a boy from Davenport, Iowa, I swooned.
The evening I went to Ira’s I brought a bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers for his wife, Chana, that I’d thought to pick up on Harvard Street after I got off the train. The area there had an obvious Jewish presence – several big synagogues, Jewish-oriented shops (kosher butcher, baker, a couple of restaurants, bookstore). I headed west with my loot to the address Ira had given me, into a gradually yuppifying Washington Square, but there were still a lot of Orthodox families walking around with their small flotillas of kids trailing them like ducks on a pond; it was still Shabbos, technically, though the Saturday evening dusk had about settled. To me it was like walking through the set of some movie. Crossing Delancey or something.
I was greeted at the door by Rachel Weiss’s big sister. I swear, Chana Hyman (she’d later tease me when I pronounced it Hahnah Hyman, correcting me with that throat-clearing Hebrew chhh sound) looked just like my jack-off fantasy from Philosophy 101. No relation, of course, but it was almost on the tip of my tongue to ask.
She caught me gawking, gape-mouthed, and laughed at me, probably intuiting my smitten horny college kid stare – more flattering than the flowers or the wine, which I thrust at her after my doubletake.
“You must be Scott Metcalf,” she said. “Ira!” she called behind her, turning her head so that her breasts tautened her blouse (also no bra). “Ira, your friend’s here! Come in,” she said, turning back to me, her big dark eyes sucking me in, magnetic.
Ira came bounding out of another room, his hand stretched out like a lifeline, his face lit up. “Scott!” he cried, welcoming me warmly.
“Scott brought us a bottle of wine,” Chana said. “Let me pour us some glasses.” I watched her rear as she swayed to the kitchen, momentarily afraid I might be staring too obviously, but Ira didn’t seem to notice and led the way to the living room.
“Nice place you’ve got,” I commented, not that I’d particularly noticed yet, but it was the first thing that came to my mind.
“Thanks. You like Coolidge Corner?” Ira asked. He wasn’t sure if I had meant their apartment or their neighborhood. Neither did I.
“I’m pretty much confined to where the public transportation system takes me,” I answered, taking up the conversational cue. “No car. I mean, I’ve been to Brookline before, of course; I live in Kenmore Square, after all. But I haven’t really been here before. I mean, walked in any neighborhoods.” I was hoping one of them would rescue me as I floundered in the conversational water. Chana was in earshot in the kitchen, pouring the wine.
“This is a very Jewish area,” Ira said.
“So I noticed.” I shrugged, and lest he took this the wrong way, I explained, “Those guys in the black clothing at the supermarket on my way here.”
“Oh, them,” Chana muttered, coming back with a glass of wine for me and one for Ira, and a look passed between husband and wife that I pretended not to notice.
“It’s very convenient to BU, without being smothered by the university, as you must be, down there on Bay State Road.”
“Plus there aren’t that many married people where I live,” I agreed. “I mean, no families.”
“The Goldbergs have an apartment in Kenmore Square,” Chana pointed out to her husband.
“More Back Bay than Kenmore Square,” Ira shot back, and he did sound as if he were arguing. “I mean, they live on Comm., Ave.”
“But they aren’t surrounded by these Modern Orthodox women wearing shirts to the wrists and skirts to the ankles. Wigs.” She rolled her eyes.
“We aren’t ‘surrounded’ by them, either.”
“I feel smothered sometimes. They’re so smug in their ‘holiness.’ I’m more Jewish than they are. More Jewish than they’ll ever be.”
It sounded like an argument they’d had often.
“I’m sorry, but –” Ira began what sounded like a knee-jerk response, but Chana cut him off.
“Go out and get some ice cream before the store closes,” she ordered, and with a shrug, Ira obediently rose from his chair, relieved to have the tiff behind him.
“Der man iz der balebos – az di veib zaine lozt,” Chana smiled.
“Old Yiddish saying. ‘The husband is the boss if the wife allows.’”
“You speak Yiddish?”
“My grandparents did. My parents a little. It’s a dying language but there’s a vibrant revival movement. The people in Amherst are doing an amazing job.”
We heard the door slam as Ira went out, and then we were silent, sipping our wine. The quiet was comfortable but becoming awkward, and I cleared my throat to say something about Ira’s class, when Chana spoke first.
“What was that look you gave me all about when I opened the door?”
That look? I thought, turned red. “You reminded me of someone.”
I stammered. Was my boss’s wife flirting with me? I shrugged. “A student in one of my Philosophy 101 sections.”
“A Jewish girl?”
“Yes,” I admitted. I was feeling more awkward all the time. Why all this talk about Jews?
“There’s a type,” she said, as if confirming some thought I’d expressed.
“It’s just that you reminded me of her is all.”
“Curvy? ‘Full-featured’?” she said, as if making air-italics with her fingers, ever so slightly thrusting her chest forward.
“And with dark good looks and lovely skin and deep shadowy eyes, as if you could sink into them and never find your way out again,” I gushed, a balloon she’d just pricked, letting it all out in a rush, and now it was her turn to blush.
We were both embarrassed now and quickly changed the conversation to department politics and personalities, and then Ira came tromping back with the ice cream and we proceeded with dinner.
But at the end of the evening, as I was preparing to leave and Ira was fetching my jacket, Chana whispered to me urgently, “I hope you’ll come visit me sometime when Ira’s not here.”
That night I jacked off thinking of Chana.
“Hi, I was just in the neighborhood,” I launched into my prepared speech several days later when I knew Ira was in his Spinoza seminar and would be having his office hours right afterward, but Chana pulled me into the room before I could spin out the rest of my feeble story, wrapped me in her arms and gave me a long kiss.
“I was hoping you’d come, Scott,” she said, rubbing my pants. I already had a hard-on. This was all happening so fast, and it felt dangerous. Sleeping with my boss’s wife? Am I crazy? I’d never cuckolded anybody before. Not that I’d had an opportunity to do so, unless you count Mrs. Andrews back in Davenport, my school friend’s mom who caused a scandal when I was sixteen by giving blowjobs to some of her son’s friends; she’d offered to do the same for me, but I’d been too scared to accept her offer, afraid Jimmy or her husband would catch us at it. No surprise, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews divorced a few months later and Roland and Jimmy moved to Des Moines while Nan went to her sister in Omaha. Forever after that I kicked myself for being too much a coward to seize the opportunity. The image of Nan Andrews sucking my cock had been the default fantasy for my masturbation the rest of my high school career and deep into college.
But besides, I thought, isn’t there a Commandment in the Torah about this? Against committing adultery? I was never much good with the ten commandments after Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Or was I just rationalizing my cowardice again, now, as I had back in Davenport? I was twenty-five, after all, not a callow teenager.
Chana led me to the living room, pulled me down to her on the couch, rubbing my crotch. I squeezed her tits, big and soft with large gumdrop nipples like giant pencil erasers, soft at first but hardening as I squeezed.
“Not so hard. That hurts my nipples.” Pushing my hands away, Chana reached for my belt. I realized she needed to be in control of the situation and let her unzip me, pull down my pants. My stiff dick poked out my underpants and Chana mouthed it around the fabric, her thick wet lips alive and writhing like nightcrawlers, shiny with saliva, looking up at me from where she knelt on the floor with a laughing expression in her eyes that said she had me where she wanted me; I was helpless. So I lifted my butt and she peeled my underwear down and then went at it, licking my balls, sucking my cock, wetting it with her saliva, rubbing my slick hard dick against her cheek as it were a pet hamster. I closed my eyes and surrendered to her tongue and mouth.
Sensing that I was about to come, as she thrust her head up and down in my lap, Chana pulled away and brought me off by hand, my sperm hitting on her cheek as if I’d spit a gob of mucous at her. I groaned and sighed, closed my eyes, and gradually she stopped fondling my dick. Reaching for a handful of tissue, Chana wiped me up.
“Can I do the same for you?” I offered, expecting she’d say no, but at once, without a word, she pulled up the loose cotton skirt she was wearing, and I pulled down her panties, revealing a lush jungle of hair that caused my dick to twitch and thicken.
Chana took her place on the couch, offering her vagina to me, and I kneeled in front of her, as if in prayer, first breathing in the rich odor of her wet genitalia, glistening with pussy juice and perspiration, and then I kissed and licked my way quickly up her thigh to the damp pinkish gray crooked smile that her labia formed, licking and nibbling, pressing my tongue hard against her clit and licking the wet walls inside her cunt. Eventually she twisted against my face, grabbed the back of my head and shoved my face as deeply into her crotch as she could. A warm gush of juice sprayed across my lips and cheeks, and she continued to hold my face there between her legs, pressing my skull into her, whimpering and gasping as she did, and then finally relaxing, letting me go, a big silly grin warping her expression.
We lay there, my face in her lap, for what seemed like an eternity until she budged, looked at the clock and told me I’d better be going. Ira would be home soon.
As I buckled my belt, my legs weak and wobbly, something crazy occurred to me.
“Chana,” I said. “What did you mean the other day when you said you were ‘more Jewish’ than those Orthodox women who live around here?”
Feh.” Chana snorted, still in the blissful sway of her orgasm, knowing she had a grievance but too damn happy to care about it just now. “More Jewish than they are because I know it. These women are cows with their piety, sheep, following the script with their headscarves and fake modesty.” She shrugged. “But who knows? Maybe they mean it. Maybe they’re more Jewish than I am.”
All the way home to Kenmore Square on the Green Line subway I sat in a post-orgasmic coma, smelling my fingers from time to time, savoring the fading whiff of Chana’s vagina. Later that night, after I’d gone to bed, I woke up and jacked off, remembering the afternoon.
For the rest of that semester, I would go over to the Hymans’ Coolidge Corner apartment while Ira taught his Spinoza seminar. We never fucked, only sucked each other off. I wasn’t sure if this was some kind of Clintonian hairsplitting about being unfaithful to Ira, but I wasn’t complaining. I do admit to feeling an increasing burden of guilt whenever I met with Ira to discuss the classes, grading, exams, etc. He was such a sweet guy and eventually he would write me letters of recommendation for jobs in the field.
Chana and I didn’t talk much those afternoons, but she did occasionally express her dissatisfaction with the Orthodox women in her community, maintaining every now and then that she was “more Jewish” than they.
After about the third or fourth time she declared this, I observed, “Well, I wouldn’t know since I’m not Jewish at all,” and it seemed like a sort of slap in her face. She regarded me coolly, I don’t know why – obviously I was a goy, so it wasn’t exactly a revelation. But I could see a subtle re-evaluation taking place in her eyes.
Finally, as the semester drew to a close, only a week or two after that exchange, Chana told me we had to break it off. I had known it was going to happen all along but still I whined a little, as if she were expecting it, as if it were my role here.
“Remember the Yiddish phrase I once told you about the wife allowing the husband to be the boss? Well, here’s another, boychick,” Chana said, “A gast oif a vail zeit far a mayll. A frequent guest becomes a pest.” For a moment we looked at each other, as if guessing at the next lines in the script. What was I supposed to say? Thank you? Fuck you? All at once we both started laughing and parted company amicably, even though for the next few weeks I would experience nights of loneliness, longing and rejection.
Sometime after the new semester began, I happened to run into Rachel Weiss, my heartthrob from the Philosophy 101 section, in a restaurant in Harvard Square. It was as if we were long lost friends, even though we hadn’t spoken at all personally during the past semester. I was surprised she even knew my name. Before we parted I got her telephone number and I called her the next week.
Two years later I converted to Judaism, married Rachel, and we moved to Saint Louis where I’d gotten a tenure-track job, thanks in part to the letter Ira Hyman wrote. Now I’m more Jewish than I ever was.