Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Night Races - IV

Shanna sat her room, and looked at the picture in the paper. A white Chevy Cavalier, stolen two years ago. But it couldn’t be the same one, could it. She needed to talk to someone, but there was no one she could talk to. No one she trusted.

Shanna laid back down on her bed, next to a pile of nine neatly folded denim skirts, her head resting on a pile of folded shirts. She remembered the first day she met him. She was so naïve then.

It was January of 11th grade. Shabbos ended early, and Jerusalem Pizza was open. Chevie called her, and the two of them went to Jerusalem Pizza, just as they had done almost every Motzai Shabbos. They didn’t go for the scene. There was no scene at Jerusalem Pizza on a Saturday night. Or any night for that matter.

They were standing in line when four boys walked in. She recognized two of them from shul, but didn’t really know their names. She was a good Bais Yaakov girl, and would never talk to a boy. Too much was at stake. Her reputation. Shidduch chances. Enrollment in her school. And besides, what would she say to a boy. She hadn’t talked to boys since kindergarten, when the class was mixed. And having only two sisters, there were never boys around.

But one of the boys, one of the two that she didn’t recognize, kept looking at her. She shifted her weight uncomfortably, and tried to turn her back on the boys. She kept talking to Chevie, about their midterms, which had just ended. And about their new Hashkafa and Kallah class, which was supposed to start last week, but the Devorah Leah Stein, who was supposed to give the class, had just gotten engaged, and now the school needed to find someone else to teach them.

Chevie was talking, and Shanna tried to sneak a peak back at the boys. He was still looking at her, and for a moment, their eyes met.

They ordered their pizza, got it, and started walking out of the store, when he talked to her. “Hey, what’s your name?” the boy asked. Shanna was stunned, and tried to ignore him as she walked by. When they got out of the pizza shop, Shanna and Chevie laughed hysterically.

Who did he think he was, showing up the pizza shop in his white shirt and black pants, and trying to talk to her? Didn’t he know better?

She thought that was the end of it, and didn’t think about him. Or, didn’t admit to thinking about him. Who was he, and why did he want to know her name?

A week later, in shul on Shabbos morning, there he was again, this time with his black hat on and sitting with his two friends. He kept looking back, trying to see someone through the Mechitza. Was he trying to see her? Is that why he came to their shul?

He came to shul the next two weeks, and finally, after davening, he walked near her and said Good Shabbos before she could walk away.

Shanna thought about the mystery boy all the time. Why was he following her? Didn’t he realize they were not supposed to speak to each other? Hadn’t he read the same Mishna in Pirkei Avos that she read, about minimizing contact with women? Wouldn’t he get kicked out of Yeshiva just for talking to her? And, oh, he looked so adorable when he tried to talk to her.

Still, she couldn’t just go around talking to boys, could she? Even cute adorable mystery boys.

But destiny was going to play a role.

Chevie was sick, and Shanna was at the mall alone, when she saw him walking toward her. For a moment, she considered turning around, but then it was too late. He saw her, and walked over to her, a smile lighting up his face.

“Are you alone?” he asked.

“Why?” She answered tersely.

“Because I want to talk to you” he replied.

“What if I don’t want to talk to you,” she snapped back.

“I would be really disappointed. I’ve been wanting to talk to you for weeks.”

“Again, why?”

He smiled. “Because you’re the prettiest girl I have ever seen.”

And with one sentence, he had broken through her Bais Yaakov shell.

“I’m Chaim, by the way. Chaim Gregg.”

“I’m Shanna Wine,” she answered, and noticed her tone changing from attacking to interested. “And no one has ever called me pretty before.”

They walked around the mall for a little while, talking about people they knew in common. “Listen,” Chaim said. “I need to get out of here. But I’d like to see you again.”

And so it began.

At first, they would see each other in shul, and nod or smile, imperceptible to all but the most careful observer. Neither one of them wanted to get caught.
But as winter turned to spring, they got bolder, and soon were meeting in parks away from the community’s watchful eye. They started lying to their parents, and sneaking off to go see a movie or bowl or just hang out.

When they first met, they were careful about not touching one another, but as they got closer, she remembered the first time she held his hand in a movie theater, and how he wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

He kissed her goodnight once, and the next time they saw each other, they parked on a dark, unlit street and kissed until she had to go home.

She loved him. She knew that. They had fooled around a little, and even as she thought about it now, it made her blush.

She knew Chaim Gregg better than anyone. She knew about his religious struggles, and in times of self reflection, wondered if she was pulling him away from frumkeit, being pulled away from frumkeit, or running away from it with him.

She looked at the car, and thought about the rumors that had been flying. She wished there was someone she could talk to, but there was no one. Her friends had noticed she was distant and rarely available, but she had never told any of them about Chaim Gregg. He was her secret, her lie to live with in the Bais Yaakov world.

She knew he didn’t run away. She would have known. And she knew he wanted to race. And she looked at the picture in the paper, and felt hot tears streaming down her face.

The preceding story was fiction. You can read the beginning of the story by clicking on "The Race" in the Friday Night Races section on the sidebar.


Blogger Veev said...

Oh, Honey. You really understand us girls...

July 22, 2005 4:41 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

i think of a man, and i just take away reason and accountability...

July 22, 2005 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey air, great 'fiction'!

July 24, 2005 5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you so choose, AT, there is a site where you can publish this. Do a search for mimamakim, or some alternate spelling.

July 24, 2005 5:49 AM  
Blogger Zoe Strickman said...

That story sounded eerily similar to something that really happened a year ago in Highland Park, NJ.

I hope you don't mind me asking you this, but would you be willing to put a link to my site on yours? My site is seriously lacking in Jewish readership and I could use the increased traffic (and more importantly, the feedback) on topics that I am writing about on the blog, and I don't know how to attract more Jewish readers. I'd appreciate any suggestions you have, and I've enjoyed reading your site since I came onto the blog world in March. Thanks. -Zoe

July 24, 2005 11:51 AM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

Stick to the boys side.

July 24, 2005 2:23 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

keep it coming gordie. the story works.

July 25, 2005 10:31 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

great story,just 1 thing voos var a yiddesha numen iz "greg"

July 25, 2005 10:47 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

amshi - Do we really need a nother story with cohen, stein or berg?

July 25, 2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

does Shanna pee in sinks,because that really turns me on

July 25, 2005 2:05 PM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

so so lakewood....

July 26, 2005 9:30 AM  

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