novella

London Leaves / C – We (Us) 1

Garden of flowers
Garden of flowers

Novella in several parts (I’ll post the rest in the coming weeks)

C

We (Us)

1

“Ma…”

Heavy pouring rain. She wandered through the streets of London like a wet lonely cat, schlepping her belongings with the last ounce of energy left in her. Her clothes were all soaked. Her shocked, gloomy face, was struggling hard to restrain her agony from bursting into a long wounded howl. She stopped, unable to move further. Her legs couldn’t endure the weight of what she was carrying anymore – both herself, loaded with suppressed emotions, and her stuff, hanging from all over her. Her arms were burning out of pain, craving for rest. Submitting to despair, she didn’t care to park her wet bottom on the freezing low stone fence. The rain was flowing silently, cutting through the thick deep smog.

Not letting out the meowing she felt inside, was very hard. She wanted to curl up into a warm lap, but not the one she left half an hour ago, and stay there forever. What should I do? What should I do? What should I do… Her bewildered mind was tormented. What should I do? What should I do? A few pupils passed her, hurrying to get to school on time. Cars went by, their motors roaring, leaving a trail of smoke. She detained her breath, trying to impede pollution from harming her. Nu, what should I do?

A deafening thunder pierced her spine, causing her whole body to shiver. The street was now empty. Nobody sane would stick their nose out of their warm, cozy home. Oh, home… I miss home sooooooo much! What possessed me to leave home and come to this insane horrible sick woman? What did she think, that somebody could actually fall for her? Nu, well, I suppose there could be someone who would seek this sick kind of relationship. I don’t think they are capable of loving, really loving. They are occupied with causing each other pain and misery, how could they feel love for each other? This is not the love I need. I want rapport, affinity, bonding. I need to feel wrapped with love by the woman I will love back with all of my heart, to melt to her touch, to…

Another earsplitting thunder extracted her from her thoughts. The rain was pouring cats and dogs. A black cab stopped near her. The taxi driver rolled the window down a bit, not daring to stick his head out. “Hey, love”, he yelled in a loud voice, “are you all right?”

She blinked surprisingly. Am I all right? Yeah, right – sitting on this freezing stone, my butt could be served as an ice-cream, I’m soggy duch and duch,[1] deep into my bone marrow, I don’t know what to do, as I mindlessly collected my unpacked luggage to rush away her, I’m even quite sure where I am. I know I headed to the train station she showed me once, but didn’t get there. I don’t think I ever was in this neighbourhood before. I’m not such a good navigator, to say the least…

“Well, lady, where do you need to go?”

Where do I need to go? Home, I guess. But home is so far away, 8,047 kilometres, or 5000 miles, as they measure here, how can I get there? I have no English money. A mazel[2] I have some in shekels. I suppose I would be able to exchange in a bank. Although I could, I had no intention to take the notes she scattered around her house, in prominent places. I guess I’m not the first to run away from her, so she was “generous” to assist… Nu, well, a woman with so many lovers behind her, having their bleeding scalps hanging from her belt, probably should predict future events. No, I didn’t take her money. I hope she suffocates with on it. Damn P.

Without thinking, she opened the back door of the cab, throwing in her plastic bags. The driver didn’t move an inch to assist her. Probably it wasn’t in his job description. He just moved the handle of the trunk, so she could put in her trolley and the other four over packed bags. Feeling relieved, she closed the trunk’s door, glancing around, hoping the rain will stop already. She was heading to the passenger’s door, thinking she could use a brake of these showers pouring on her, as the driver quickly slammed the back door and fled with his brakes squealing.

“Ma…”[3] The word didn’t even pass her lips. She remained standing there, unable to move her gaze affixed to the spot where the cab disappeared.

[1] Yiddish: Thru and through

[2] Yiddish: I’m luckily

[3] Hebrew: “What…”

London Leaves / B – Jazmin

Stones of hope
Stones of hope

 

Novella in several parts (I’ll post the rest in the coming weeks)

B

Jazmin

 

Nice of her to take me to this meeting. It’s interesting to attend such a ceremony. At home, I would never dream of doing that, but it’s an opportunity to meet other people, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I will find love… I needed so much to get out of there, to breath fresh air, see another country, other people and open myself to the world. I have been alone for such a long time. She came into my life at the right time. Alas she wasn’t the right woman…

It is nice here. The Rabba is holding a lovely ceremony. One can feel the holiness in the air. Shabbat is Shabbat, even in London, so far away from home. I miss home. Yes, already. How would I cope with being here for so long, as she planned for me? She likes to control. I have no issue with it. I came here for the British passport, nothing else. I never told her I loved her. She asked me a few times how I feel towards her, why don’t I say these words to her. As if one is obliged to do so after being showered with these words continuously and so persistently. I always answered I’m not sure, as it isn’t my nature to fall in love with a picture, not even with one that moves, such as on Messenger. She declared her love to me and invited me to come and live with her. London is a good place to vent a lonely soul, I thought, and the G-ddess all mighty knew how much I needed to get out of this pressure cooker called Israel. The 2nd Lebanon war just ended and I felt I needed a big brake. I’ve never been abroad before, so it was an opportunity to travel and see the world, as she promised to take me wherever I would like to.

The Rabba started a prayer in honour of the people who died of AIDS, then she invited people to share, to talk about their loved ones they lost to this horrible disease. Thank the G-ddess, I didn’t lose anybody, also I don’t know people who suffered such a loss. Hope I will never know this bitter taste.

P went to say hello to some friends, so she said. I wondered how come she didn’t bring them to meet me. Weird. This P woman is weird. I can’t figure her out yet, but my little voice is telling me she definitely is not the one for me. I can do much better. I didn’t like her looks on the internet, let alone when we met in person. She’s a year younger than me, but looks much older. Not that I use to fall for the looks, but there must be something basic, like taking care of yourself. If you don’t look like my lovely, the ultimate Farrah Fawcett, at least do something with yourself: have your face lift, hair done, dress properly – not with schmates, like she does. I wonder how she allowed herself to buy me the ticket, when she is so cheap on herself.

Someone shared, causing each eye to tear. I wiped mine. There must be chemistry between two people, otherwise it’s not it. She didn’t appeal to me at all. I couldn’t connect to her inner soul, which is crucial for me. She is illusive, unstable, someone I couldn’t bond with. Bonding is essential for me. I don’t want to be with a woman I can’t bare my soul to. She is not the one. Definitely. However, she will do for my goals. Once we get married, I’ll have this civil partnership, I can do whatever I want too. I can work, have some savings, and in a few years get the British passport. In the meantime, she promised to support me with the tuition money, as I expressed my wish to study at the university. 5 years is a long time, I’d better get a degree if I can, why not?

Where did she disappear? Never mind her. I think I’ll go have something to eat. They displayed nice food here. I’m hungry. Maybe I’ll meet nice people to befriend.

“Hello.” I looked at the lush sexy woman standing in front of me, her hesitating smile so lovely. A large wave of joy flooded my whole body, from head to toe.

Gratefully, I beamed, hoped my grin was inviting. “Hi”, I answered. She is sooooooo-sooooooo charming, wow! My heart stopped it’s beating, my breath shortened. Wow! To be honest, I never met such a big woman in my whole life. She stood there, her lovely lips curved with a shy smile, capturing my heart. I knew instantly that SHE is the right woman for me. But I couldn’t do anything, as I promised P to be with her. I never break my promises.

The gorgeous woman in front of me gazed through me. I didn’t think to interrupt her in her meditation. When she finally landed, I expressed my hope she was in a good place, even if here is also nice. I was being playful, didn’t mean to get serious.

The lovely woman seemed as if she was pulled out of thoughtland. “Oh, yes, oh, so sorry”, she hurried to apologize and added: “I didn’t mean to…” What didn’t she mean? I don’t know. The woman caused my head to spin, I felt dizzy. In the background, other people shared, but their words became just fading noises. I was mesmerized by her flaming gaze. I shouldn’t stare, it’s not polite, but I can’t help it, she definitely had something in her that was sooooooo appealing. Amazing. I wished I never met P. Had we met just two months earlier, it could make the difference. Only two months! I was waiting for this fabulous woman for sooooooo looooooonnnnnnnggggggg. So-so long. Why couldn’t she come earlier? Just my rotten luck, unlucky me.

I assured her there’s no need to apologize. I can understand people have dreams. I also tend to do so.

“I’m Sarah”, she introduced herself.

“Jazmin”, I answered. Should I reach to shake her hand? What are the correct manners here?

“I hope that you won’t find it rude, but your accent, seems to be east European. May I ask where are you from?” The marvellous woman showed her interest in me, or maybe she was just small-talking? The English are known of that quality.

Proudly, I answered: “I’m from Israel, the Jews’ homeland.” Why did I add the last three words? I really have no idea. When I am excited, my mouth does speak by itself, without allowing me control over the words I should or should not sprout. This woman caused me excitement, no doubt about it. Hidden senses, I had suppressed a long time ago with no hope of feeling, started bubbling deep-deep in me. I think it was the first time in my whole life that I felt I actually have a heart. Until then, it was merely a pump, keeping me alive, not more.

“Oh, how nice!” Her face were a mixture of surprise and wonder. I wondered if I was her first Israeli… “Did you see the city already?” She continued to enquire.

“No, I haven’t managed to do that yet, as I just came here last Sunday”, I explained. I wish she would offer to show me the city.

The woman must be reading my mind… “Oh, I see. Would you like to get together and have a coffee someday?”

Some day? What does she mean by that? Why not tomorrow, maximum the day after tomorrow? When is this ‘some day’? I couldn’t restrain my joy though. My lips widened in a big smile. “Yes, I would love to, very much.” Do I sound eager enough? I was going to ask her when is convenient for her to meet, when P appeared from wherever she was, clinging to me, enclosing her gaunt arms around me, declaring her ownership. I don’t like her touch. It repels me. She does. In front of the lady of my dreams, she blurted out demandingly: “Hey, who are you talking to?”

“This is Sarah,” I answered reluctantly, moving myself away from her grasp. Then, I turned to my real lady: “Sarah, this is P.”

I could sense the tension. P was clenching her jaws together in a motion I never saw before, but nonetheless it did not proclaim good tidings. Her expression said she is not allowing anybody to enter her territory. I was the property she was going to defend. Sarah excused herself and fled for her life. I can’t blame her, P looked quite scary.

“I see you are socializing.” The words flew from her twisted mouth, her face deforming mockingly. She didn’t even smile.

London Leaves / A – Sarah’le

Calm waves at the seashore
Calm waves at the seashore

Novella in several parts (I’ll post the rest in the coming weeks)

A

Sarah’le

 

The Rabba chanted the holy words, accompanied by the rest of the JGLG[1] members attending the ceremony of Kabalat Shabbat[2]. I love to be here, among friends. It’s better than being alone with my four walls. Two years passed since I told her I can’t cope anymore with her insane bloody attitude to life, to people, to herself and especially to me. Enough is enough, I told myself. I love you, I told her, but this is not how I imagined my life with my spouse. I want more. I need to be loved, to feel I am loved, and of course also to love back, to let out all these feelings that I have in me to give to the right woman. I love you, but I don’t think you are the right woman for me. No, you are not for me.

She was surprised at my rebellion, as I always was so obedient and never before had the courage to express my feelings. I couldn’t do that. I don’t know why I was scared to tell her off before, but I guess that there comes a time when enough is enough. ENOUGH IS really ENOUGH. Before she had the chance to respond, I collected myself and left her behind me. I thought I did…

She was standing there, across the room, leaning against the wall, looking somewhat lost. My heart started humming. Strange. My heart goes out for a stranger I have never met before. Without being able to think about it, my legs moved forward and I found myself standing in front of her, sending a claiming smile to the woman of my dreams. “My love”, I wanted to say, “come, let me take you with me to the Garden of Eden, let me wrap you with my love, let me…” However, I didn’t say any of this, just a polite hello came through my craving lips.

She beamed, her grin inviting. “Hi”, she answered, her calm voice reminding me of fallen leaves in a warm autumn, somewhere far away from here. Hidden yearnings started bubbling deep down, in places I thought I would never feel again. Not since Estelle… Oy vey, that woman doesn’t leave me in peace! She haunts me and still has a hold on me. I can’t be free of her, as if she had imposed a dark spell on me. When will I be free?

The lovely woman in front of me gazed at me. “I hope that you were in a good place, even if here is also nice”, she said playfully, flashing another smile.

“Oh, yes, oh, so sorry”, I hurried to apologize. “I didn’t mean to…” What didn’t I mean? I don’t know. She made my head spin, causing me dizziness. The background noises faded away, as I was caught in her mesmerized flaming gaze. I’m sure the Rabba and the others continue to praise the Lord for creating Shabbat for us to rest and enjoy, but I was praising my guardian angel for creating this lovely woman I was sure they did it especially for me.

“It’s OK, no need to apologize.” Her accent was not local. Polish perhaps? Czech? Is she from one of the former USSR’s countries?

“I’m Sarah”, I introduced myself.

“Jazmin”, she answered curtly. Not a woman of many words, I guess.

“I hope that you won’t find it rude, but your accent seems to me to be east European. May I ask where are you from?”

She straightened her compact limbs and answered: “I’m from Israel, the Jews’ homeland.”

“Oh, how nice!” Oh, an Israeli… how nice… Her accent is not typical Israeli though. I’ve met a few before, but was never involved with any of them. None captured my heart. Now this nice woman… I wonder how long she is here for. She wasn’t here last time. “Did you see the city already?”

“No, I haven’t managed to do that, as I just came here last Sunday.”

“Oh, I see. Would you like to get together and have a coffee someday?” Yes-yes-yes!!! Please, say yes!

Her smile, like the rainbow after a downpour, showed in her lovely blue eyes. “Yes, I would love to, very much.”

She said yes!!! An unrestrained urge drove me to take her in my arms and burst into a stormy Hora dance[3]. Well, I’m Aussie (not to mention Jewish…), so I don’t suffer from the dry restrained self-control the English are known for. My ancestors poured into my veins a need to be gay even in darkest times. I have been in a dark time since I left Estelle, as she didn’t leave me be and I was foolish enough to be persuaded by her seducing alluring words that she poured into my ears over the phone, when she felt alone and needed someone to abuse, and I was handy. Last time, was only a month ago. I went to her place again, yet again hoping we would reconcile, settle things and live happily ever after. The minute I walked through her door and lay my eyes on her, I knew I made a fatal mistake, as usual. Am I dumb? Am I so pathetic? Why do I allow this? She had a long face, as her grave sourpuss gaze faced me acrimoniously. I was familiar with this expression, which portended her forecoming behavior. It was foredooming we weren’t going to have peace. Again, she was going to enjoy herself in her twisted way and I was going to go through hell. Why didn’t I turn around and leave on the spot? I really don’t know. Maybe because I am optimistic in my nature, I always hope for the best, never consider the opposite. Or maybe I am just dumb. I’d rather think about myself as innocent. At the age of 56 plus a few months, I’m still naïve, childlike even. I was hoping her sour appearance would evaporate in a few minutes and we will talk things over and live happily ever after. It didn’t happen.

I was about to reach for the woman of my dreams, when a tall, pale, ugly-looking woman, appeared from nowhere, clinched to Jazmin, then wrapped her gaunt skinny arms around her, as if declaring her ownership. What an ugly woman! This is the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve seen quite a lot. Too many, as far as I’m concerned. Her tiny eyes, submerged in her faded face, they examined me inquisitively, absorbing my organs one by one. I was sure she X-rayed every bone in my body with her piercing gaze.

Still measuring me, without turning her head, she asked demandingly: “Hey, who are you talking to?” She widened her lips to what appeared to be a smile. My mother used to call this gesture “zuzing mit di tzain[4]“. One could feel her effort to maintain calm.

“This is Sarah,” answered the love of my life, wriggling away from the witch of London. “Sarah, this is P.”

P? What kind of name is P? Why P? Paula Abdul she is not – of this, I am pretty sure. As opposed to the talented singer, she has a harsh, raucous, unpleasant tone of voice, I doubt if she can carry a note. I cleaned my ears very thoroughly before I came here and I will have to do it again when I come home. Her obnoxious, annoying, grating, irksome voice stained their purity. Not to mention her eyes, those two acrimonious blades, going over my whole body, tainting it.

“Hello”, I said politely. “P stands for…” Not for princess as well, as she was wearing these tattered, worn-out ragged schmates[5] called “sport-elegant couture”.

“Her parents called her Paula, but nobody calls her that. She is P.” Jazmin volunteered the explanation, as the woman in question didn’t bother to answer.

Nu, P for pish, I couldn’t resist, Pee. Like in wee-wee… The Pishwoman. Witty, wow! I’m so sharp! The thought planted in her mind, as she felt the need to go and relieve herself of the few warming teacups she had during the evening. Secretly, Sarah examined the belittled woman with contempt. The nickname seems to suit her.

The woman didn’t bother to move her hand in order to shake mine, so I kept my hand to myself and didn’t reach her either. I excused myself, sending a quick smile to the one I wanted and went to release my body of its fluids. Alas, the woman of my dreams was already spoken for. My rotten mazel[6] again. But what could I expect? She looks so nice, it is only natural someone grabbed her. I wonder what Jazmin is doing with her. That P person looks horrible, so not suitable to my dear Jazmin. However, what do I know? I also had my fair share of meeting and being with crazy lesbians. Maybe P is what Jazmin needs. Who knows what is in the heart? My cup of tea is not necessarily the same as the others.

[1] Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group

[2]  The ceremony of lighting Sabbath candles

[3] Israeli folk dance

[4] Yiddish: gnashing a smile

[5] Yiddish: rags

[6] Yiddish: luck