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Written by Panmi. For other Jewrotica writing by Panmi, see Shiksa-Goddess in my Life.
I stood in front of her, in her little light filled studio on the eleventh floor. She had her arms around my waist, her fingers massaged the small of my back beneath the waistband of my modestly long black knit skirt. I had my fingers tangled in the soft wool like hair gathering sweat on the nape of her neck, my mouth was open on hers and we were breathing each other’s air. For a moment I allowed my mind to drift.
I let myself marvel at how this, we came to be here in this moment, at the threshold of everything that was about to unfold. I was bringing myself, my adult observant Jewish self that lived in the orthodox community that was a mother to three children that was married to a Chasidic man who loved me, and supported me for 15 years. I was bringing my adolescent self, the bright eyed bewilderment of my teenage years, growing up in the Chasidic community of Williamsburg, protected from the every outside, harmful influence in within the safety of an all-girls school in the heart of Marcy avenue, with the five square blocks of the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of primarily Satmar Chasidim repelling all outsiders, and protecting its inhabitants. It was easy to feel lulled into a contented kind of stupor that grew out of never having to make a choice or decision. Living with my nine siblings and immigrant parents in a brownstone on Rodney Street, it was easy to believe that this was all that mattered, that the world outdoors was frightening and corrupting and that imagination, choice and liberty were unnecessary to contentment.
My street hosted a majority of Chasidic families with a sprinkling of African American and Puerto Rican American families in the apartment buildings on the corners. There were 22 Chasidic little girls on my block to play with so there was no need to mingle or socialize with the goyim who lived two houses down the street. Looking back I realize that I was raised so close to the inner beat of the music the zeitgeist of the 80s, the birthplace of hip hop and the very heart of ethnic culture in New York, yet I was completely sheltered from it and ignorant of it all.
I looked into her warm brown eyes, ran the tips of my fingers over her chocolate colored velvet skin and wondered what she was thinking, was she thinking of her growing up years in New Jersey with her two sisters in a mostly white suburban community where being black meant you were automatically viewed with suspicion and mistrust? Was she too wondering how we came to be? Was she considering the whiteness of my skin, the darkness of hers, the intensely familiar yet foreignness of the scarf covering my close cropped hair, which among all of the other lifestyle practices and choices we each were making could be a bridge of understanding or a way to accentuate yet more of the differences in our respective cultures. How profoundly affecting this was! These powerful feelings and sensations, these cravings to reach and touch and scale the walls of resistance of mistrust of suspicion this hunger to connect in spite of and because of these unconsciously ingrained barriers of upbringing, racial and cultural differences, bigotry and misunderstanding.
There we were, holding each other, tentatively letting our fingers and mouths advocate for us, reach beyond the missed years, the stereotypes the misery and mistaken beliefs that was fed to us with our mothers’ milk, traveling slowly beyond the space where words muddled and confused gave way to this purer form of communication, to a soundless unspeakably rich and nuanced language of the senses. This was after we spent the better part of two hours, perched on her kitchen stools and snuggling on the couch, talking. We went where leaders and politicians feared to go. We twisted and probed argued and cried and settled into new uncharted territory. We talked about oppression, and missed chances, intersected webs of stereotypes and cultural barriers, generations of hurt and insult and the ultimate goodness in all human kind. In the end all of this didn’t stand a chance, because although I was white and she was black and I was raised in a Chasidic Jewish home, and she was brought up by Pentecostal Christian values, we were standing flesh to flesh heart to heart, soul to soul as we kissed and explored and we settled our breaths together and let the moisture trickle from the primordial subconscious of sexual desire and fantasy into our panties. It was incredible how simple it all really was because with this, our bodies approval and the juices that wet our panties we had the makings of a connection that would carry us through. It was enough for the moment, it was more than enough for now.