Closing his eyes, Mitchell could see her…
I sat there. Looking to his right, to where he had sat five years ago, then at the kitty-corner stool…
Susan was there!
Feeling Susan’s presence a deep sense of hollowness overtook him as it all came rushing back:
The eight months of their so passionate, all but sexual love.
The eight months of lying about his past scholastic record, and his academic and future career aspirations.
The eight months of tutored cramming for an entrance exam.
The eight months of praying he would pass that exam…
And his failure, and their breakup and his, Oh, God! depression because he was still in Susan’s world but was no longer allowed to be a part of that world…
So Mitchell Lipensky changed worlds.
November 3, 1956
“Can I help you? Hello! Excuse me!”
“Huh?” Forced from his reverie, “Oh.” His eyes focusing on the waitress, “Oh, yeah.” Ordering the first thing that came to mind: “A tuna on whole wheat, toasted, and a Coke, please.”
During the months of boot camp, Mitchell had thought of Susan constantly.
Then he met Chief Warrant Officer Floyd Richard Ewing. And…
Within months Mitchell’s love of Susan was overshadowed by his hatred of Ewing. But even so…
It took Mitchell eighteen months to work up the courage to go home again.
To return to Susan’s world.
But it turned out okay because he’d turned another corner, crossed another street and met Marsha—again… Then lost Marsha—again.
But a year later he crossed another street, turned another corner and walked into Askanaz, and now…
Two weeks short of five years ago, sitting two stools from where he had sat on that day, looking across the counter to where Susan had sat on that day, Mitchell Lipensky was doing something he had been dreading for better than four years…
Facing the apparition of Susan and his love of Susan, Mitchell Lipensky sighed deeply and finally, for the first time, honestly thought… Fuck Susan!
Dec. 21, 1956
What a day yesterday must have been for you!
So your pals Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King… Excuse me! Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior, won and the Supreme Court said all you Shvartzers can ride in the front of the bus with us white guys, or wherever the hell you want.
Oh, well, there goes the neighborhood.
Just kidding. Really, it’s great!
Marsha and I hope this letter finds you okay and in premed, or wherever the hell you want to be.
How’s Sherry? Is she with you or in New York? Hell, I don’t even know where you are, and I’m sending this letter to you in care of your dad because, like you told me, you weren’t sure if you’d be living in N.Y. or Baltimore.
The baby is due in the middle of March and Marsha is getting bigger by the day, but she’s okay and says to say hello to you guys.
I’m fine, but things here are a little tough moneywise, so besides working for the studio, I’m also working part time selling men’s clothing at a department store.
Well, not too much more to say, but let us hear from you soon.
All our love
M & M & ?
Jan 2, 1957
Dear Mitch, Marsha & ?
First of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR! And secondly, it was great hearing from you.
Yes, 12/20/56 is a day that will go down in Shvartzer history. At least I’ll always remember it, and Sherry and I want to thank you for thinking of us.
So the baby is due in the middle of March! Well, that’s what doctor “Dennis the Menace” told you two also, so I guess he couldn’t have been all that bad.
Sherry and I are together here in New York City.
I’m in premed at Columbia University and am working my ass off, which is one of the reasons I can’t spend too much time on this letter.
Sorry things are tough for you but, what the hell! Things are supposed to be tough for young married couples, but I’m sure they’ll get better as time goes on.
Anyway, I’ve got an exam tomorrow morning that I’ve got to study for tonight, so I’m going to sign off with best regards from…
Mr. (one day to be, Dr.) & Mrs. Rubidoux Meyers
Yeah! We did it!
January through March 19, 1957
Carrying low and being a thin person, the added weight of the baby and its outward push on the flesh of Marsha’s once tight, concave abdomen caused a constantly uncomfortable feeling. She often had cramps in both legs and near continual heartburn that gave rise to the bubbeameisseh (old wives tale) that heartburn in a pregnant woman meant the baby will be born with an overabundance of hair. And, indeed, to quote her cousin, Marsha sometimes did feel like “some kind’a ugly, grotesque, misformed string-bean.”
On the other hand, though, other than the general discomfort of being pregnant, her clear complexion as clear as ever, her lustrous hair more lustrous than ever, always an attractive girl, in the mid and later months of pregnancy, Marsha Lipensky had become radiantly beautiful and, other than the discomfort, she loved being pregnant and loved showing she was pregnant.
Mitchell rationalized the looks he received from other men—notably those of older men—as jealousy because it was he that had the good fortune to be intimate with this young woman. It was his penis and his semen that had impregnated this beautiful, young woman, so he walked a bit taller and a bit prouder whenever he and Marsha were out together.
Regarding sex: Between times of anger or, “Mitchie, not tonight, I’m so tired!” Or—not that he always believed her—“I have terrible heartburn!” Or, “Stomach ache!” Or, “Backache!” Or, hardly ever believing her, “I’ve such a headache!” sex became possibly, maybe, a two or three times a month event and actually most days ended with Marsha—because she needed it—and Mitchell—because he liked it—each drinking a quarter glass of water with, “Plop plop, fizz fizz,” two AlkaSeltzers, “Urrrppp!” belching and turning their backs to each other…
“Good night, Mitchell.”
…the two would fall asleep.
Since the age of nine, Mitchell had had, in his opinion, an above average interest in sex, and though he understood why, he considered this possibly, two or three times a month, maybe, thing to be a deprivation.
During the long days and nights between intercourse, he would build a mental and physical head of steam so when they did have sex, because her breasts hurt and her stomach was distended, intercourse became not much more than inserting himself, moving inward and outward a number of times and ejaculating within seconds. Knowing he was not satisfying his wife, or actually, beyond the momentary physical relief, himself, did tend to aggravate Mitchell and put him on the defensive and this, of course, added to the tension.
Very… Most often, Marsha really did not feel well or was not up to having intercourse. But on the rare occasion that she felt well enough and was in the mood, she did feel the need for sexual gratification, but because of her husband’s premature ejaculation problem—due to the rarity of intercourse—she became frustrated with their lovemaking and, often unwilling to work herself into a state of unfulfilled desire, she would find an excuse to delay intercourse even longer—exacerbating Mitchell’s problem—forming patterns that added to both Marsha and Mitchell’s frustration, which caused more tension
Also, beyond a growing financial problem, there was always Rhea and Myra and “Mom.”
March 2, 1957
Into the start of her ninth month of pregnancy, even though it was only 8:15, because Marsha was more comfortable lying in bed, both in pajamas on the open sofa bed, watching that Saturday night’s edition of “The Jackie Gleason Show.”
“Ouch!” Holding her stomach, “The kid doesn’t stop kicking!” Lifting the top to beneath her breasts and the bottom to under her protruded stomach, “Give me your hand, Mitchie.”
Turning to his side, he watched as Marsha placed his hand, palm down, onto her bare stomach.
“There! Feel it?”
Feeling the rolling, jabbing motion of his unborn child’s elbows and knees in the confines of his wife’s uterus, “Yeah! Sure I do! The kid must be jitterbugging in there.” Actually able to see the poking movement under the taunt flesh of her stomach, sliding downward on the mattress, positioning himself between Marsha’s thighs, propping his head in both hands, he watched until the gyrations stopped.
Always affected by the realization that it was his baby there, swallowing to keep his emotions from surfacing, “Marcie,” he said hoarsely, “I love you!” Also aroused by the heat and close proximity of Marsha’s crotch to his face, his passion rising, rubbing his lips and tongue lightly over her distended stomach, kissing her bulging, rounded navel…
The sense of passion transmitting to Marsha, the sensual touch of his mouth and tongue on her stomach warming her, she knew where this was leading and, having taken a bath earlier in the evening, for the first time in weeks in the mood, knowing this was the one way she would orgasm.
Expecting to be stopped at any moment, unbuttoning the top of her pajamas, letting the sides fall open, looking over the hill of her stomach, Mitchell gazed at her sloping breasts.
Through the eight months of pregnancy. Marsha’s breasts had grown from a size 34C to a 36D cup. The areolae, as though bursting through their rounded, dusky pink domes, had enlarged and flattened.
Lifting himself, holding his weight above her stomach, Mitchell kissed Marsha’s eyes, her mouth, her neck, the flat hardness of her chest and, slowly, sensually, drew the tip of his tongue over and around the soft flesh of Marsha’s right breast, then closed his lips over her bythen turgid nipple.
Stopping him, Mitchie…” holding his head,
Positive she was going to stop him, “Marcie, please…”
“My nipples are very sensitive, so, not too hard, please.”
Knowing he had permission, “Yeah, baby,” he lowered her pajamas to beneath her ankles and over her feet. Although well aware this was strictly for Marsha, knowing this was not a night for intercourse, having the need to be nude with his wife, Mitchell removed his pajamas, too.
On this night, at this time, his lips and tongue mere inches from his unborn child, on this night, at this time, this, to Mitchell Lipensky was beyond sex… this, now, was spiritual. However…
As always, the taste of his wife was as honey upon his lips.