A Promise

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Matthue Roth Story1Written by Matthue Roth.  This excerpt has been taken from Matthue’s book Yom Kippur a Go-Go.PG-13

Passover is one of those manic Jewish holidays when it’s hard to avoid getting trashed. You’re not allowed to ingest any bread products all day before the seder, and when your body is starchless and vulnerable, you drink four glasses of wine. A few hours in, I was woozy and glowing, letting the holiday seep in. Then I crawled into Tegan’s bed.

Just as I was ready to let myself fall asleep, my eyelids heavy and my throat parched, Tegan walked in. She peeled off her shoes and rolled into bed next to me, pulling the blanket hard from my body, eyes closed tight, air pulsing into my neck with quick, hot breaths.

When I woke up, she was gone, her side of the bed neat, sheets tucked in like nobody had ever been there.

When I got home from synagogue, I found her setting the table for dinner. “What are you doing here?”
She shrugged. “I came back.”
“Did you walk? The city’s, like, a fifteen-mile walk.”
Another shrug, even more noncommittal. “I got here,” she said.

We cooked. Sticking our hands in each other’s projects felt so weirdly domestic and flirtatious. Neither of us made eye contact. She tried to make me do the poem about shomer negiah and how touching is a promise. Later, I told her, later.

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