Saturday. 3 pm. He walks east on Robertson Blvd and within two blocks he’s already outside of Torah Town. He passes a small Chabad and then a tiny Knesset Israel and then there’s no sign of Yiddishkeit.
The sun drops in the horizon.
At Hamilton High School, he walks west and eventually joins with National Blvd. He passes children playing roughly on the streets and wonders how many of them are criminally violent. This is an entirely different class of people from Beverlywood. They’re much rougher. They look less educated, less successful, and more indulgent. They’d punch him in the face if they knew what he was thinking so he doesn’t make eye contact.
He passes a group of winos. “Nice beard!” one says.
He thinks that these people are less inhibited than his own kind. They’re less constipated about talking to strangers. They don’t look at the outside world as the enemy to be debunked.
He could’ve waited for the end of the Sabbath and then driven to his Alexander Technique soiree but then he would’ve arrived two hours late.
He’s curious about the public dialogue with his teacher. Teach hasn’t been the same of late. He’s never seemed so vulnerable. Why? Teach is a master showman who’s taught the Technique thousands of times. This is his element. He knows he’ll shine. So why the long face?
What’s going on? Does teach also sense the setting sun?
Soon we’ll all fade to black.
During the presentation, he allows himself three public questions and then shuts himself down and guzzles Perrier alone in the kitchen.
Later, a friend says to a group, “You are so much more appropriate now than in your first three months.”
Still, he won’t go easily into that good night. He talks on and on about inhibition until his voice gives way and he takes the first ride home to light his menorah.
His best friend’s engagement party was tonight and he had missed it. She was once converting to Orthodox Judaism — they davened for years at the same shul — and now she was marrying a goy.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.