Enraptured with the taste and touch of this kiss, Mitchell moved his arm from around her back and, as their bodies strained onto each other, his splayed fingers held Marsha within the warmth of her bare armpit where the palm of his hand rested upon the soft swell of the outer side of her compressed breast, and from the heat generated upon his hand he knew it was not padding that he felt and, Oh, God, how he wanted to hold this girl! But…
Her mouth open to his, the erotic probing of their tongues was at least as much due to her passion as his and, psychologically reeling, this kiss, emotionally, was like no other kiss Marsha had ever received, or given, but now she did realize that he was touching—somewhat, kind of—touching her breast, and as much as she did not want to break the kiss, or the mood, or really for that matter, move his hand, Marsha did have her instinctive boundaries—especially with this, their first adult, kiss—and was about to remove Mitchell’s hand when…
Not having kissed any girl that had touched him, even remotely, as deeply as this kiss since he’d last kissed Susan—or possibly when Susan and he had first kissed—the feel of the softness of even this small a portion of Marsha’s breast filled Mitchell with an unfathomable desire. But realizing that this girl was not just another girl and even though he thought that she might not be aware of where his hand was, but… Out of respect for what he knew was building between this girl and himself, moving his hand, feeling its, oh, so smooth coolness, Mitchell placed both hands to either side of Marsha’s face.
Relived that she hadn’t had to move his hand; appreciating him all the more for the respect he’d shown by doing it himself, but well aware that they had better stop this kiss before he touched her there again, when she would have to move his hand, “Whew!” Marsha reluctantly broke their kiss.
Inches apart, each felt the others warm breath on their lips.
“Jesus, Marcie!” Moving his face against hers, feeling her cheek upon his. “You are some kisser!”
“Yeah? Well you’re no slouch, either!” Leaning back on the bench, “God!” drawing air into her lungs, “Is that how all sailors kiss?”
Taking her hand, “I don’t know,” he said, laughing, “to tell the truth, I hardly ever kiss sailors.”
“And to tell you the truth, I don’t usually go ’round kissing guys like that on a first date… Or any date!” She chuckled. “And this isn’t even a date.”
“Marcie, you do know that this isn’t the first time we’ve kissed.”
“Yeah, Mitchie, I’ve thought about that, too.”
“You remember us kissing at the…”
“Lakeview Hotel… Yes! How could I forget? That was like my very first real kiss.”
Amazed that he so clearly recalled that long-ago emotion that he thought he had forgotten a day or two after it had happened, “Marcie,” lifting her hand to his mouth, kissing her palm, “when I kissed you then, at the hotel, the world seemed to spin for me.”
Not answering, Yeah, for me, too. Marsha remembered her world spinning then too, and now.
Hoping what he had said, and what he was about to say, didn’t come across as a corny line. “Tonight, just now, the world spun for me again, and… Marcie, I’m going to be home for two weeks, and I have a feeling that we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other… That’s if you want to.”
Oh, yes! But don’t be too anxious! she told herself. But, her emotions not fully under control, “Yes, Mitchie,” she said emphatically, “that’s just fine with me!”
“Hey!” Arm in arm, coming abreast, “Where the hell’d you guys go?”
“Yeah! Every time we go for a walk, you two ditch us!” Pushing Marsha with her hips, sitting, “Scoot over!” Leaving a few inches on the outside of the bench for Norman, “So,” Shelly asked, looking at Mitchell, “you two catching up on lost time?”
Still holding her hand… “No, Marcie and me could never get caught up with what we’ve missed.” feeling a tightening of her fingers.
Looking at her watch, “No rest for the wicked.” Standing, almost knocking Norman off the bench, “Got work tomorrow and gotta be up at six.”
“Yeah, Shell,” Marsha said reluctantly, “me, too, I guess.”
Walking back to the street, purposely falling behind again, “Marcie, I’m sailing to Michigan City with my dad and Larry tomorrow and won’t be back till Saturday evening and I’ve been thinking that, if you don’t mind being picked up by three really scroungey guys, what if we pick you up on our way home from the club and you’ll have dinner at my house.” Still surprised at the depth of his feelings, he added, “Because I really want you to meet my family.”
He wants me to meet his family! Then, Slow down! she thought. For God’s sake, at least play a little hard to get! “Yes! I’d love to meet your family!” Oh, well, so much for playing hard to get.
“Great! That’s great, Marcie!”
“Yeah, but,” she asked, “what boat? And what club?”
“My dad’s got a thirty-foot sloop.” Attempting to sound like it was no big deal, but yet bragging a bit. “And he belongs to the Columbia Yacht Club.”
Walter had sold the small boat the year before and purchased another boat, a much larger one he could cruise in, and also, he had hoped, a boat that Myra would feel safer on and enjoy spending an occasional day sailing on—but she didn’t—and this boat, because of its size, range, and cost—even though Walter did still keep it in the yard off season—had become an even larger source of argument.
“Okay, what’s a sloop?”
“A one-masted sailboat.”
“You belong to a yacht club and have a one-masted sailboat! Where do you live, Mitch?”
Glancing at her, “In Skokie.”
“In a house?”
“Sure!” he answered matter-of-factly.
“Hey, Mitch, don’t say ‘sure’ that way. You’re one of the few people I know that lives in their own house.” Becoming thoughtful, quiet for a few moments, “My dad’s always wanted to have a house, and we could have had one a couple of years ago, but my mother wanted to live in a classy building near the lake,” she said bitterly, “and daddy always does what mother wants!”
Noting the bitter inflection in her voice, but not feeling he knew her well enough to question her, “And you live within walking distance to the beach?” he asked.
“Sure!” she answered matter-of-factly.
“Hey, Marsha,” mimicking her, “don’t say ‘sure’ that way. You’re the only person I know that lives in a classy building and can walk to the beach whenever you want. No wonder you’re even tanner’n’me, and I just spent six weeks on the ocean.”
“And you own your own home in Skokie!”
“My folks and the bank own our home in Skokie.”
“And I suppose you own your own business, too?”
“It’s my dad’s business. He’s a commercial photographer.”
“Photographer? Oh, yes, you told me last time… A home in Skokie! Your own business! A yacht club and a big, one-masted sailboat, huh?”
“My folks business!” he corrected. “And the boat’s not all that big; it’s only thirty feet from stem to stern.” Smiling, “That’s nautical talk.”
“It’s big enough to cross the lake?”
“Yeah, sure it’s big enough to cross the lake.”
“So dere he goes vit da ‘sure’ hgain!” Speaking in an exaggerated Yiddish accent. “So hif hit’s big enough to cross mit da lake, den by me hit’s a big ship. Und, nu, he belongs to a ya-gh-t club, yet! You know from vat a good catch you are, uh…? Know vhat? I don’t heven know from your last name.”
“Lipensky,” laughing so hard he could barely get it out. “And don’t be fooled by…”
“Lipensky.” Mulling his name, Marsha cut him off. “So, nu, Lipensky, you know from vhat a good catch you are?”
“Like I was saying, don’t be fooled by all this.” Having a need to be honest with this girl, “It might sound like a lot, but my dad sweats his butt off making the payments each month. And Marcie, it’s a boat, not a ship. Remember, you can put a boat on a ship, but you can’t put a ship on a boat.”
“Oy, vey! Listen to mister big-shot sailor; snoops und snots und stairs, he’s talking.”
Laughing harder, “That’s sloops and stems and sterns.”
Walking a few more yards, stopping suddenly, turning Marsha in his direction, Mitchell pulled her into his arms and their mouths made contact and they stood, held tightly by four arms gripped about backs and waists. As their mouths and bodies moved against each other, he felt the soft, radiant heat of Marsha’s breasts and she felt the hardness of Mitchell’s pressing erection and their emotions traveled from heart to mind to genitalia and both came away from this kiss afraid to speak for fear of saying more than either felt they should say so soon after first, really, meeting, but each felt sentiments they wish they, or the other would put into words, but as neither could find the words, neither said anything, and thinking their confused thoughts, holding hands, the two, once again, began to walk.
Thinking, It’s so easy to kiss him! Meaning in both a spiritual and physical sense, and also—and this thought was foremost in her mind—in an erotic sense, too. And, What is it when he holds me? Marsha wondered, but did not realize that she was comfortable in his arms, as though she belonged there…
And as far as she was concerned, she did, because Marsha Goldman had harbored a restrained love for Mitchell Lipensky ever since that night in Union Pier, six years ago.
All thoughts of the boy she had met at the Palladium in 1949 would leave her mind for years at a time. But each time she had seen him—on the beach five years earlier, then at the J last year—Marsha’s heart would quicken and the shrouded intensity of her feelings would surface and she would sense a longing in the pit of her stomach. And on this night, being with that boy that had become a young man, was as a dream come true , and made even more so because she felt, after all those years, that her affection was reciprocated. But as much as Marsha was delighted by this night’s turn of events, she was also frightened by her instantaneous and all-but-impossible-to-control passion.
Looking at Mitchell, she couldn’t help but think, Wait till mother sees him! And had to stifle laughter because…
Rhea never approved of any of the boys her daughter had dated because the boys that she had met were either stupid, dumb, ugly, too tall, too short, too fat, had pimples and/or blackheads, or looked like bums or hoodlums. It seemed to Rhea that Marsha brought these boys home just to annoy her—which, at times she did, because…
As for Marsha, the more her mother disliked a boy the more she liked him, or pretended to, and now, looking at Mitchell, she couldn’t help but think again, Wait till mother sees him! Stifling laughter, You look like you’re in movies! Your parents own their own home and business and even a boat, even if it does have only one mast. Let’s see what mother can find wrong with you, Mitchell. Unable to hold back, she laughed.
Hearing her, “What’s so funny?”
“Oh, nothing really. I just thought of something.”
Coming off the moonlit beach path onto the artificially illuminated sidewalk of Pratt Boulevard, shifting her right hand into his right hand, he placed his arm around her waist, and was instantly gratified when Marsha responded by taking her right hand out of his, replaced it with her left, and put her right arm about his waist. As the tails of Marsha’s blouse were tied rather than tucked into her jeans, the unexpected feel of bare, warm flesh surprised him and, God, it feels so good holding her. It’s like she fits, he thought. It’s like she’s made just to be held by me.
The kissing, at the very least, oh, yeah, had aroused him, but then again he usually felt an awakening whenever he kissed a girl. But there was something else. The thought had entered his mind earlier and he’d pushed it away, but the thought had returned and at this time he knew that there was something about this girl that was… What?
The intensity of his feelings for Marsha—for the young girl that he had met at the Palladium in 1949 that had become the beautiful young woman that now walked by his side—becoming stronger by the minute, Mitchell was further surprised when he realized that those feelings, at least for the moment, transcended sex. Also, he suddenly realized what he’d missed so much these past two and a half years: love! His heart jumping, Love! He wanted, once again, to love someone, and, looking to his left, Mitchell Lipensky knew that he loved Marsha Goldman. But yet, How can this be? he wondered. Outside of those couple of minutes at the J last year, now is the first time we’ve been together as adults… But I knew I loved Susan the second I saw her too. God! Going back six years: hearing the music, seeing the flickering, firefly lights of the Lakeview Hotel, visualizing the twinkling reflection of those lights in the Marsha’s dark eyes, envisioning their purely chaste kiss, Mitchell further wondered, Could I have loved her then? Could I have loved her all those years without knowing, without even remembering who she was?
“That’s where I live.” Marsha’s words breaking into his reverie, she pointed to a nine-story building directly across the street.
“Uh,” drawn back, “pretty classy,” he said, then, a look of near panic crossing his face, “You don’t want to go in now, do you?”
Tightening her grip on his waist, playing hard to get no longer a remotely viable consideration, “God, no!” she said emphatically. “We’ll get the car and drop Shelly off, then you can take me home.”
“Good. I’m not ready to say goodnight to you yet.”
“Yeah,” she said softly, “me, too.”
Accepting his revelation of love, it became important that he analyze his feelings for Marsha then, while he was with her, rather then later, when he’d be alone—when fantasy would replace fact.
Gathering his thoughts, bringing them into focus, Mitchell considered Marsha’s mental attributes and physical characteristics.
When he had seen her last year, and earlier in the evening, he’d considered her as somewhat above what he would usually consider as simply pretty, but now?
Looking at Marsha, being with Marsha, her looks had grown on him and, thinking, her darkly tanned face reminded him of…? Thinking, Yeah! She reminded him of the movie star Jane Russell and, God, he thought, wondering how he hadn’t noticed before, She’s beautiful! Yes! Okay! Marsha was much thinner than he normally liked, yet, looking at her in Askanaz, he’d seen a bit of cleavage through the unbuttoned collar of her blouse, and what he had felt in the palm of his hand a short while ago sure as hell wasn’t padding.
In the past, if someone wanted to fix him up with a girl and told him, “She’s got a great personality!” he would automatically think, She’s got to be ugly! But Marsha, besides being, yeah, okay, besides being beautiful, Marsha had the most pleasing personality of any girl he’d ever known… Also, she was not going to college, so most probably a college education was not all that important to her. Also, she seemed to remember that long ago evening as well as… maybe even better than he, so possibly it meant as much to her as it did to him. And yet another “also”—maybe the most important also—he knew that Marsha truly liked him. As a matter of fact, if what he was feeling was really love, then he thought that, maybe, just maybe, as improbable as this whole thing was, Maybe she’s in love with me, too!
Arriving at the car, finding Norman and Shelly sitting on a front fender, “Jesus,” Norman said, “the two’a’you are slower’n sh… uh, molasses in February.”
“Yeah,” Shelly added, “you guys stop off for a quickie or something?”
Smiling, blushing under her tan, “No!” Marsha said, “We didn’t ‘stop off for a quickie or something’! Did we, Mitch?”
“Yeah, we did!” Fishing the keys from his pocket, unlocking the passenger door, “Go on, Marcie, tell ’em the truth, it’s not nice to lie to your friends.” Reaching inside, unlocking the rear door, holding the front door open for Marsha, “It was fantastic, Shelly! Your girlfriend here is a great giver of quickies.”
June 16, 1955 to July 2, 1955