Monday 16 December 2013

THE ROV'S LESBIAN DAUGHTER: Forbidden Love at the Bungalow Colony

I am a chassidish woman, in my thirties. I grew up in a very careful house, the kind where stockings are important, hairstyles are important. My father is a rov. I am married. I have a family of my own but sometimes, it feels like I have two families.
Before I was married, there was a girl I liked. She lived on the same street as me. We were best friends. I didn't like her.  I loved her. When I looked at her, it was if there was a silvery cloud around her. She shone in the face, like the biggest tzideikis. We were in the same class, all through school and she loved me too. She said she did and I know she did.
I didn't know that when I got married I wouldn't feel the same way for my husband.
Then, when this friend and I had both been married for quite a few years, we began going to the same bungalow, in the country. We had bungalows very close, one to the other, and we had pitzelach, the same.
In the summer, when our husbands were not with us, we sat on the screen porch and we sewed clothing, dresses, things for the children, and we moved the machines onto the same porch so we could work together and schmooze and watch the kids.
It started, we made lunch together for the kids, and then it just seemed easier to have the supper together too. It was like we were a family, her and me, even though her mother and some of her sisters were in that same bungalow.
The worst time is shabbos because that is when the hubbies come back and we have to be very careful then. It's not like she can come over and say we are sewing together! Usually, shabbos is my favorite time of the week, but not in the summer. Then it is the worst.
My little girl asked me when I was lighting candles, ""Mommy, did something bad happen to you?" I told her no, no, of course not, but you can't fool the children. She knew.
One day, my friend and I were talking about this other woman we both knew, someone who was maybe doing something she shouldn't with another man, not her husband. I said to my friend, "That's not my problem! I'm not interested in going off with another man. One man is more than enough for me." She looked at me so long and strong, but we didn't say anything, just looked.
The next day and for a few more days, we sewed and cooked and watched the kids just like before, but then, one day, as I was sewing, my friend came up behind me and she leaned down very close to me and asked, "What do you think of this s'choirah (fabric)?" She held it out to me and ran it across my palm, very slow and gentle, and I caught in my breath. I looked out of the window to make sure no one could see, because there were many women and children all over there, even her mother in that bungalow, but it was towards the middle of the day and no one was there because they were giving lunch.
Then, I looked to see what my children were doing, and they were busy in the next room with playdough.
"So what do you think?" she said again, and this time, she put her hand on the back of my neck and all the hairs there went up, and I felt myself blushing all over and very very hot.
She touched me on the shoulder of my chalat (house dress) and then she put her finger on my lip and I thought I was going to die from her touch, like my whole body suddenly jumped to life and then stopped. "You have beautiful lips," she said. "I can't stop looking at them." Her voice was scratching, like she was scared and I was scared too. But that's what she said!  I also couldn't stop looking at her lips. First her eyes, then her lips. I thought there was something wrong with me and then she said it's the same with her.
You know what happens to people like us if you get caught? If people saw us there in the bungalow, or if they thought something, they would talk about us, they would talk about our families, all on the sudden no one would let their children play with our children and when the husbands came up, they would hear about it and, to save face, they would have to throw us out, because otherwise they are as bad as we are. If it was her mother or her sisters who found us out, I don't know what would happen but it would be very hard.
I am not going to say it was all my friend, because it wasn't. I wanted her too. She's all I can think about sometimes. I make stupid excuses to leave the house to call her, when I should be at home. Sometimes, I can't believe my husband doesn't know something is going on, and sometimes, a lot of the time, I think he doesn't want to know. Once, I said to my friend, "Gevalt. You know we are going to burn in H-ll." And she said "I don't care."
But now I don't know where I am in life, what exactly I am. I don't know what I should do. It's not like my life with my husband is bad, like some ladies have. It's just that I miss my friend, the way we are when we are together is not the same when it is a man with a woman.
 In between, in the winter, it feels like a long time to wait to see her again and I get the depression in the winter from not seeing her and not having that. A woman understands a woman, can talk with her and touch her in the ways that feel the best. A woman feels peaceful and easy and comfortable in the house, not like a man who comes in and is full of expecting things to be done for him. Where's my laundry? Bring me coffee! We are going to my mother's house for shabbos and I don't care what you say!
Every summer, when I go to the bungalow, I wait on shpilkes for that first knock, when she comes to my screen door, and there she is, still standing there, smiling her smile, the way she does, and with her face all shining, the way it always does. That's what I live for.

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