She called Friday at 8:08 pm. He couldn’t pick up the phone because it was the Sabbath, but it was their pre-arranged signal for him to come out to get her.
He wouldn’t get to listen to her message until motzi Shabbos: "Hi, did you order an escort? I’m outside. I can’t get in. Will you come out and get me? I need to get paid. I want to do my job."
He walked through the darkness to her car.
She was fresh from dinner at the boss’s house.
She sat in her car and applied gloss to her lips.
He stood by his gate and waited. She kept applying gloss and checking herself out in the mirror.
He could wait no more and crossed the street to her.
She took her time getting out of the car and then she was in his arms.
It was dark out. He didn’t see anybody but her.
The hug went on and on and then they released and he led her inside the gate.
Once in the hovel, they embraced.
"What type of gloss did you put on your lips?" he asked.
"Why don’t you find out?" she said.
He kissed her and it was sweet and he let his lips linger on hers.
How many times had he hugged her in a perfunctory manner? How often had he ignored her completely and rushed on to other things, to the food she’d brought?
He would not make those mistakes again.
He was going to let it linger.
"Let’s lie down," he said. He threw off his clothes and reached for her.
She kicked off her shoes and put down her purse.
She sat down on his chair and unbuttoned her pants and waved her legs in the air and said, "I need your help."
He slid her jeans off and then her top. Then he led to his bed.
"Gut shabbos!" he said.
Their conversation went past midnight.
"That was the best talk we’ve ever had," she said.
She was exhausted but enjoyed his nattering on about his first experiences in Orthodox shuls, his first deceptions, his failures and fears, and eventual triumph.
She began to purr. And then she sighed. She groaned and tossed and turned.
He took himself to the foot of the bed and put down his yoga mat and covered it with a towel and tried to sleep alone.
His feet ached. They felt swollen and hot. They would not lie comfortably on top of each other.
He felt itchy and feared the hives were coming back.
He was exhausted and yet could not sleep.
He could never sleep these days until after 2.am.
Near 3 a.m., he came back to her bed. She embraced him, fitting her body to his.
"We could put a towel down," he said.
"But I’m impure!" she protested. "I don’t want to make you impure."
"I don’t care," he said.
She laughed. She’d triumphed over his Orthodox Judaism yet again.
"What did you do last Yom Kippur?" he asked.
"I went to a movie and then to dinner," she said.
"Do you want to walk with me around the hood?" he asked.
"I don’t know. That wouldn’t be easy for me. It would bring up all sorts of things."
"Yom Kippur," he sighed. "I love to walk around the hood. It’s one of those rare times when I feel like the spiritual dimension is more real than the physical one."
"I feel that way most of the time," she said.