Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Friday Night Races - Part VII

David hung up the phone. He had been talking to his mother, and hoped he had seemed shocked at the news of his Chaim’s death. The story was flying all over the community, and rumors were rampant. His mother told him she heard a few versions, but the one that made the most sense was that he had been in a car accident and the girl he was with somehow managed to walk away without a scratch.

He talked to his sister, probing for more information. There was not a single rumor that came close to the truth. Nothing about drag racing, and most importantly, nothing about being there with friends.

When David got back to his dorm room, he told Moshe and me the latest from Detroit. It seemed unlikely, but we were not going to get found out. Collectively, we all breathed a little easier.

We hadn’t talked about Chaim since our airport vote; it was as if we were living through Sruli’s death all over again. If we didn’t talk about it, we didn’t feel it. And if we didn’t feel it, we didn’t need to try and cope. Or maybe not talking about it was our method of coping.

We had been in Yeshiva for less than a week, and already, I could see patterns developing. David and I were going out, showing up late, and putting God on the backburner. Moshe was the opposite. He was at every shuir, every minyan, and had mentioned he might start an extra Chavrusa.

Over the net few weeks, leading into Succos Bein Hazmanim, we saw less and less of Moshe. He was moved up to the next shuir, and was spending more and more of his free time in the Bais Medrash.

I was afraid we were going to lose him. He was one of us, and we were going to lose him as surely as we lost Chaim from our little gang. I wished there was a way we could knock him off his religious horse, and bring back the old Moshe, but I started to think maybe a lot more than just Chaim disappeared in that fiery wreck.

David and I hadn’t said more than good morning to Moshe in two weeks, and so we were surprised when he showed up in our room during second seder, and wanted to talk. It was light-hearted as first. We talked about what we had heard from home, and had a laugh over a story coming out of our old yeshiva about a guy getting in trouble for bringing Cholov Stam milk into the cafeteria and using it in the Yeshiva’s bowls for breakfast.

“Do you ever think about God,” Moshe asked, changing the subject. “I mean really think what he wants from us.”

No, we didn’t, David and I both admitted. In truth, neither of us really believed in him anymore. We didn’t see the point, but we still tried to keep up appearances.

“I’ve been thinking about God a lot lately,” Moshe continued. “The whole master plan and what he wants from us. I think he was sending us a message when Chaim died. It was a wake up call for me.”

“When I got here, I decided to throw myself in to this whole Torah learning thing. And you know what, it helps.”

We listened in silence. Nothing we hadn’t noticed from his behavior.

“And I’m thinking of telling Rabbi Meyers about that night.”

“You might have this new commitment to God,” David interjected, “But you have a deal with us. Remember? That night never happened.”

“Yeah,” I chimed in. “If you go tell him the story, the next thing you know he’s on our ass, thinking were the shkutzim in the yeshiva. You’ll be fine, the one the Yeshiva saved, but we’ll be kicked out in a heartbeat.”

“I just think admitting what I did would be good for me?” Moshe responded.

“Confession. That’s what you’re talking about. So not Jewish.” David said, his voice rising.

“What about Vidui,” Moshe yelled back.

“You are so freaking ignorant, you know that,” David yelled. “You think you learn for three weeks and suddenly you’re an expert on everything. Vidui is between you and God, not you trying to score some pity points with Meyers.”

“You know what, screw you,” Moshe said, his voice even but dripping with anger.

And with that, the screaming was over. And the friendship. The screaming, because someone came into the room to see what was going on. The friendship, because we had started the irreparable drifting that happens when people move in different directions. We would always be civil, always be more connected by our shared history than our present lives, but that history was littered with loss and pain and rebellion. And one of us no longer wished to be reminded of that history.

The next day Moshe told us he was changing rooms. He needed to be in a new s’viva, he told us, one that didn’t have daily reminders of things he was trying to put behind him.

We ignored him as he packed. I took out a deck of cards, and while Moshe packed, David and I sat on the Marpesset, playing poker for cigarettes and smoking.

The door was closed and no one seemed to be around. “You know, he’s wasting his time in there,” David said to me. “We’re going to be kicked out of this place pretty soon.”

I agreed with David. It had been weeks since we showed up to Shachris at all, and we were always late to shuir and seder. Even when we went, we didn’t stay very long. They had talked to us, but we weren’t really listening. We both figured it was a matter of time until we had to find a new place to stay.

“You wanna find a new yeshiva, maybe a BT place or the Mir,” I asked.

“We’re making some decent money. Maybe we can just get a place of our own. I’ve had enough of this yeshiva stuff to last a lifetime,” David answered.

It was ironic. A few weeks earlier we didn’t want to tell a friend’s parents that their son had been killed while driving on Shabbos, because we were worried about our reputations. Now, a month later, we didn’t care at all about that reputation. We were contemplating leaving yeshiva and living on our own.

We played a few more hands. David was right. We were making a lot of money. Our first night in Israel we went looking for some grass, and walked away with a part time job dealing for some guys who needed to disappear for a little while. We could afford to live on our own. No parents. No rabbis. No rules.

“Remember Shanna, Chaim’s ex,” David suddenly asked.

“Yeah.”

“She keeps calling me. She must have called about six times since she got here. I keep ignoring her messages. I don’t want to be her shoulder to cry on.” David said.

“She’s kinda hot,” I offered. “Maybe she wants to move on.”

“It didn’t sound like that from her message. She said she was going to be at the Kings Hotel at 9 tonight, and needed to talk to me. It’s the third time she left that message.” He paused. “I’m thinking of going. You wanna come.”

He knew I couldn’t come. He knew I was working. Why did he ask?

“No, I gotta work tonight. And I want to take care of some things here. Let me know what she wants though. I’m curious.”

The preceding was a work of fiction. You can catch the story from the beginning by clicking on the The Race under Friday Night Races on the sidebar.

17 Comments:

Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

does she pee in the sink at the hotel??????

July 27, 2005 1:34 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

you are really focused. I like that.

how you have managed to get through your DB guest posting without bringing up sink peeing is beyond me.

July 27, 2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

just trying to get the world to giggle,one blogger at a time

July 27, 2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Figures he'd get all preachy....i hate those self-righteous frummies! and you're dead on with the newsly holy. They're so f**ing full of themselves and so f**ing selfish.

July 27, 2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

In defense of the newly holy, I went to high school class with someone was was newly holy, but he never really turned into a preachy holier than thou type.

July 27, 2005 4:12 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

i figured it out.
i killed chaimand knocked up shanna

July 27, 2005 4:21 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

how much did you have to pay her to sleep with you

July 27, 2005 4:23 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Anshi - what happened that DB gig. He shouldn't have given you the boot. What kind of liberal open minded everyone should do whatever they want reaction is that?

DovBear is a secret conservative.

July 27, 2005 4:24 PM  
Anonymous aetc said...

Airtime,

This is much better. I think when you write from the guy's perspective it feels more real, more true to life.

I am wondering: Could there possibly be some of you in here? (Maybe your sports psych friend could explore your psyche, and tell me if I'm right.) It just seems edgy and real enough that you relate to it. The Shanna stuff doesn't have the same feel of authenticity.

Keep it up.

Anon Encourager to Continue

July 27, 2005 4:35 PM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

His "sport psych friend" is too busy enjoying watching Air expose his innermost fantasies in public...

Shanna seems as real as Anshel did in Yentl

July 28, 2005 10:05 AM  
Anonymous AETC said...

Sports Psyche,

Are you sure they are his innermost fantasies, could there be some truth in here too?

I am glad you agree with me about Shanna.

July 28, 2005 12:14 PM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

aetc,
I am not really sure of anything actually. One must be willing to observe, build a theory, and then test that theory. Jumping the gun and focusing on a premature hypothesis only leads to confirmatory biases. I have yet to develop a theory or gather enough information to test it.

Let Air tell his/her story, and then we'll have a much more complex and accurate picture

July 28, 2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

sportpsyche,

i'm fairly confident that everyone knows that airtime is a he.

July 28, 2005 4:50 PM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

One can be a he by sex but a she by gender identity, and considering the title of the blog, one can even be both

July 28, 2005 8:54 PM  
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