The Fringes of Memory

Prev1 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

A143 fringes

Written by Shosha Pearl. Shosha, a first-time Jewrotica writer, is a writer and reader of erotic fiction who believes there is much potential, as yet largely untapped, for Jewish erotic fiction. She hopes both to cover and uncover some of this potential.

[Editor’s Note: Per the author’s request, this story is written using British English spelling – as opposed to American English.]

Rated PG-13It was exactly as I had left it, folded neatly and wrapped in white tissue paper, stored at the top of a plastic crate in my basement.

I had not seen it since clearing out the upstairs cupboard to make way for the baby clothes that my daughter had grown too large to wear. The passage of time inevitably led to its subterranean exile, left to grow moldy in silent abandonment.

The tissue paper was thin; it felt cold on my fingers. The browning tape held fast so that the paper tore, despite the care I used to pull it apart. A light musty smell wafted up, but I barely noticed as my skin touched the faintly aging fabric; the long, thin, knotted threads, which fell limp across my open palm, were as yellow as the fingernails of ancient smokers.

Without self-consciousness, I raised it to my face and breathed in the remnant of his smell, still so familiar after all this time.

Gavi Halperin came to stay with us in the dying days of the summer break before my second year at university. He wore the same velvet kippot as all the Lakewood boys brought out annually to give a little gravitas to our community’s youth program. But very few of them had his clear olive skin, sparkling grey eyes or smooth, muscular arms.

As his former chavruta, my brother Yonatan insisted – both to my parents and to the rabbi – that rather than be housed with one of the usual families, Gavi would stay with us. From the moment he arrived I silently and gratefully thanked my brother for his assertiveness; I have never loved Yonatan so dearly as I did during those days.

Growing up in a frum family, guests were always camped in our basement, but I don’t recall any of their stays with the clarity I remember Gavi’s. Not that anything happened. He was frum and I was frum. And my family was frum. These are not easy conditions for steamy relationships.

But I watched him. And thought about him. And dreamed about him – and not just when I lay in bed at night, the humming of my young mind accompanied by my sisters’ breathing in the darkness, but all of the time.

We didn’t talk much – hardly ever, in fact. He was respectful and I was smitten. Sometimes I caught him watching me, almost unwittingly. As soon as our eyes met he turned away while I blushed and fidgeted in ecstatic agony. And so the weeks passed with nothing more than the naïve fantasies of a former seminary girl and the mounting tension of her unmapped sexuality. I do not know if he, too, felt the tension.

My mother went away for a week not long before Gavi left. As the oldest daughter many of her household chores fell to me, including the laundry. This increased familial responsibility was a source of great hardship and resentment for my youthful soul. Not that I complained: I had learnt long before not to express my discontent for fear of unleashing my parents’ monologues on the weight of their responsibilities.

As I begrudgingly unpacked the strewn washing basket, sorting whites from colours, I came across an unfamiliar pair of socks. It took me a surprisingly long time to realise that this pair of slightly frayed, black socks were in fact items of tremendous loveliness: they were Gavi’s.

My sifting hands uncovered more: shirts, t-shirts, trousers, and, to my consternation, underpants. The discovery of the latter was so confronting that I turned my eyes away as I tentatively picked up these extraordinary items between my forefinger and thumb to toss them into the colour pile. Underpants were too sensational for me; socks, even the beautiful Gavi’s socks, were too stinky; but everything else was gold.

Closing the laundry door I lifted his shirts to my breast and held them close, swaying in a dance of euphoric revelry that would rival the movements of any dybbuk – possessed soul.

The madness started quite innocently. I forgot to return one of his t-shirts to the washing pile and it missed its turn with the colour cycle. So I stashed it away in my bedroom with a pile of unwashed clothes. It was only that night, as I undressed for bed and saw the t-shirt again, that it somehow made its way under my nightdress, pressed against my beating heart.

And then I wore it all the next day.

 Continue reading…

Prev1 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Sosha Pearl is a writer and reader of erotic fiction who believes there is much potential, as yet largely untapped, for Jewish erotic fiction. She hopes both to cover and uncover some of this potential.