Coney Island, New York: August 21, 1956
He bought a Coke, two lobster rolls and, so long as it was for dinner, two Nathan’s hot dogs also.
As it was vacant, Mitchell went to the bench that he and Marsha usually went to.
Beginning the first lobster roll, Yesterday? His mind going back to, Yesterday? Jesus, he thought, was it only yesterday? Because yesterday seemed like another life. Because yesterday he had everything and now, today, slightly more than twenty-four hours later... Eating the second, suddenly tasteless lobster roll, Mitchell Lipensky felt as though everything he had, everything he wanted, everything he loved had
gone from his life.
Hot and humid in the city, at the beach now it was somewhat cooler.
Above, the sky was covered with wispy clouds. To the east, though far over the ocean, banks of layered clouds gave promise to a glorious sunset.
Staring trance-like at the million pinpoints of reflected sun on the slightly rippling water, he ate the first hot dog, then automatically began the second.
He was eating, but tasted nothing.
He was staring, but saw nothing.
His mind nine hundred miles away, his mind on a young woman that at this time he was not sure he loved or hated, but, at that moment, were someone to ask, he’d probably say – but without too much conviction – I hate her! His thoughts of Marsha were of such intensity that he was not aware of the girl... Then, sensing someone nearby, looking to the left, he drew a deep breath.
Usually friendly enough, on this evening, though, he did not feel like sitting with strangers and as there were a number of vacant benches, placing the two paper plates holding the lobster rolls, hot dogs and french fries to his right, Mitchell sat nearer the middle then towards either end of the bench.
The girl was not sitting on the far end of the bench, either, but nearer the middle, with her body angled to the right, towards him.
Eighteen, maybe nineteen, the girl’s long, blond hair was streaked with modulating shades of gold... The color Marsha termed as “shiksa blonde” because those multi-toned shades of golden hair could never come from a bottle. Her face elfin cute, the girl had startling blue eyes and a small, slightly turned up nose with a brace of light colored freckles running above the bridge of her nose and beneath her eyes. Wearing a scantily cut, two piece bathing-suit, the slight, low cut top revealing – to Mitchell – scrumptious, sumptuous, creamy cleavage.
Sitting as she was, staring straight ahead, seemingly hypnotized by the sun flecked, rippling water, the young man at her side was compelled to look down and, once again – oh, yeah – he saw that, sitting as she was, with her left ankle laid over her right knee, the crotch of her tight fitting bathing-suit had pushed upward and he could see the indentation of the fissure of the girl’s vulva, and also, taking another deep breath, he could see a few long strands of golden pubic hair that had strayed between the band of her bathing-suit and the inner side of her lush, white thigh and, Oh, God! he thought as his penis engorged with blood and his mind weighed the possibilities... and problems.
Breaking her gaze, turning from the ocean, the girl’s eyes came to Mitchell and – quickly lifting from the strands of golden pubic hair – Mitchell’s eyes came to the girl’s.
Blue eyes and green eyes locked for a long moment, then he and she both looked to the ocean.
His eyes, though, magnetically drawn back; darting back and forth: from her face to her breasts to – most especially – to the fissure of her crotch and the flaxen strands of hair that appeared to sparkle in the sunlight.
Mitchell Lipensky had always been a major girl watcher. But since marrying Marsha thoughts of sex with another woman, any woman had been no more than a fleeting thought... till now, so now, Why’d she pick this bench to sit on? he wondered.
Aware of his good looks, Mitchell remembered the many times in the past when he had noticed a girl looking at him and knew that if he could just bury his shyness, find the right words and have the courage to say them, he knew he would be able to meet the girl, so now...
When Mitchell had met Susan Friedman in 1951 that was exactly what had happened: he saw Susan and it was love at first sight and, out of an absolute need to meet her, did, somehow, find and say the right words.
As it turned out, she, too, saw him and, so Susan had told him later, fell in love with him based on his
Thoughts of the possibilities with this golden girl peppered Mitchell’s sexually overactive mind.
Should he even try to meet this girl? After all he was married! And if he did meet her, should he tell her he’s married? Then, if he did and if she agreed should he bring the girl to the apartment? And if they did go to the apartment, how do they get past Mister Swanson at the guard shack without him seeing the girl? And once past the guard shack, how’s about the long, block-long walk to the building with this beautiful, all but naked girl at his side, even if they waited until it became dark, without someone who knew Marsha seeing him and this girl together? And once at the apartment, if he didn’t tell her he’s married beforehand, how does he explain the feminine touches there, or the cosmetics that Marsha had left behind?
It all seemed so complicated! But, he rationalized, Marsha shouldn’t have left me in the first place! But what if I do take this girl to the apartment and Marsha does find out? But, What the hell! Maybe just get her phone number and take it from there.
“HI!” Turning to the girl, burying his shyness, finding words, some words, “I’m Mitchell,” he said. “Beautiful evening, isn’t it?”
Without the slightest hesitation, turning to him, “Hi’ya! Yeah! It’s kind’a pretty here now.” The
girl said in a nerve-grating tone of high-pitched Brooklynesse. “I’m Karen. Pleased to meet’ch’ya.”
Taken back, always surprised at this American dialect, especially coming from such a beautiful package, “Hi, Karen.” Holding his hand forward, “I’m glad to meet you, too.”
Unsure a moment because Brooklyn men did not usually offer to shake hands with a girl, then, actually wanting to feel him hold it, Karen let him take her hand... and offered no resistance when he did not immediately release it.
The soft, warm touch of this unknown girl’s hand sending a mental jolt through him, swallowing, he looked at their hands.
Now was the first time in over a year and a half that he’d held a girl’s hand other than Marsha’s and it felt so... strangely different... So nice! “Don’t call me Mitchell,” he said, using his old line, “it sounds so formal! Why don’t you call me Mitch, or when you get to know me better, Mitchie.”
But, feeling exposed sitting in broad daylight holding this girl’s hand with ‘who knows’ milling about. But, encouraged because she hadn’t attempted to free her hand.
Now however... Because of a guilty conscious? Because of cowardice? Because of inherent honesty? Maybe, because of all three, but also, maybe, because of stupidity, trying to make a joke of it, he added,
“And I’m married, but if it doesn’t bother you, it sure as hell doesn’t bother me.”
“Oh!” Now, her smile fading, obvious disappointment showing on her face, “I, uh...” pulling her hand from his, stretching her neck, looking someplace over his left shoulder, waving to someone, or no-one, “I think I see my girlfriend there, Mitch.” Standing, “Nice to meet’ch’ya!” Karen hurried away.
Taking a deep breath, knowing full-well what he’d...? thrown away, a new dimension of lust was added as he watched Karen’s bouncy, Oh, my God! oh, so well rounded buttocks sway back and forth as the girl rushed from his life.
“Oh, well.” Said aloud, thinking, It’s probably for the best anyway.
But his badly deflated ego somewhat re-inflated by Karen’s... by a beautiful girls interest, as she disappeared within the crowd he realized that, really, he was not in the mood to see a lovely sunset on this night.
Standing, dropping his two paper dishes and cup into a garbage can, Mitchell began the walk home.