“Yeah! Shhh,” holding his finger in front of his lips. “I don’t want dad to know ’cause then he’ll tell mom, an’ you know how she is!”
Thinking, Yeah, she’d probably be overjoyed knowing that at least one of her sons got laid! He stared at his brother, then chug-a-luging the rest of his fourth bottle of beer, “Larry,” he said, “I’m going to bed.” And jealous—hell, green with envy—that his twelve-year-old brother… Hell, his just twelve-year-old brother had had intercourse, and that he, at almost twenty-one, hadn’t.
Mitchell stood, and because no one was nearby to see him, urinated over the side of the boat, then pushing the hatch open, “Good night, Larry.” went below, flopped down on his bunk and went to sleep wondering what kind of a God it was that lets a just- twelve-year-old kid get fucked while denying the privilege to his almost-twenty-one-year-old brother, as…
Home again, Marsha still hoped that Mitchell would call.
June 18, 1955
Knowing she should get up and get ready to go to work, but lingering, remembering Thursday night and how Mitchell’s kisses had felt on her lips, and how his body felt pressed against hers, closing her eyes, Marsha ran her hands sensuously over her breasts and between her thighs. I think I love him, she thought for at least the thousandth time. I think I’ve always loved him. The thought that after all those years they’d finally found each other seemed too good to be true , and she could not wait to talk to him again so that she’ll be able to confirm his feelings towards her, to be assured that he liked her as much as she hoped, or, if he’d cooled off and that Thursday night was only a romantic night thing
Disappointed because Mitchell hadn’t called yesterday; having no positive idea of when he might call today, Marsha planned on going to work, then, at about one o’clock, telling her boss that she had cramps… Being a shop that catered to women, and was managed by a woman, even though it was Saturday, usually the busiest day of the week, she was rather sure that she’d have no problem punching out.
…About to pour a cup of coffee, Rhea answered the phone.
Waiting anxiously since about one-forty, Marsha turned her minimal attention from the five o’clock news.
Though he’d never spoken to her on the phone, the voice seemingly too old to be that of Marsha’s, “Hello, is this the Goldman residence?”
“Yes,” Rhea said, “it is.”
Hearing this, rushing to the kitchen, “It’s for me, Mother!”
“Is Marsha there, please?”
“Yes, she is.” Pushing her daughter’s hand away from the receiver, “Who’s calling?” Brushing her hand away again, “Hold on, I’ll call her.” Holding her hand over the mouthpiece, “It’s a Mitchell Lipensky… And don’t be so damn anxious!”
“Thanks for the advice, Mother,” she said sarcastically. Taking the phone from Rhea, “Hi, Mitchie!”
Hearing her voice, feeling his heart skip, attempting to keep his excitement down, “Marcie, hi!”
Hearing his voice, feeling her heart skip, “I was starting to get worried, Mitch, it’s much later than you said. How was your trip?” Looking at her mother, thinking, Wish she’d go away.
But, pouring her cup of coffee, sitting at the table, Rhea lit a cigarette and, knowing she was annoying her daughter, obviously, purposely listened to the—from her perspective—one-way conversation.
“Yeah, I know,” Mitchell said. “I’m sorry, but there was hardly any wind when we shoved off this morning, and we sat off-shore for about an hour before one came up. When we caught some wind we flew, but then it died again, and we finally tied up to the can, uh, buoy, about an hour ago, and by the time we got everything ship-shape and rowed ashore…”
“Mitchie, it’s okay, you don’t have to explain.” Still looking… glaring at her mother, Marsha would walk away, but the phone cord could stretch no further than the kitchen doorway. “The important thing is that you’re back safely. So, did you enjoy the trip?”
“Yeah, it was great being with my dad and brother, and the whole thing would have been perfect except for one thing…”
Waiting for him to go on, “Yes,” Marsha asked, “what’s that?”
“You.” he said softly.
“Me?” Her heart skipping a beat again. “Why me?”
“It would have been perfect if you’d have been there. I missed you, a lot!” Stopping, waiting, hoping she’s say that she missed him, too, but…
“Oh.” Turning her back to her mother, Marsha closed her eyes. He’d said exactly what she wanted to hear him say, but a “me, too” would open too much speculation for Rhea, so…
The line silent… Worried, wondering if maybe he’s moving too fast and that she did not feel towards him as he felt towards her, Mitchell swallowed… And finally, after what seemed an eternity…
To hell with mother! “Me, too, Mitchie.” Marsha said softly, “I missed you a lot, too.”
Holding his breath… letting it out, “Look, Marcie, if there’s not too much traffic—and there shouldn’t be now—we’ll be there in about a half-hour, and I’ll ring the bell. Remember, we’re going to be in a hurry to get home, and like I said, after two days in a small boat I’m not too presentable. So explain to your mom and dad why I don’t want to meet them yet… Damn,” the words slipping out, “I can’t wait to see you!”
“Me, too, Mitchie.” Marsha said softly. “And it’s okay. Daddy’s still at work and you’ll meet my mother…” tomorrow, “some other time.”
“Hey, I got an idea! We are spending tomorrow together, aren’t we?”
Oh, yeah! “Sure, if you want.”
“Yeah, I do want! Okay! Great! What if, when I pick you up in the morning, I meet your folks then? And then, if you want, we can spend the day at the beach…” Though not an ostentatious person, Mitchell Lipensky was not above trying to impress a girl, especially this girl. “…and go to the yacht club for dinner.”
Oh, yeah! Marsha would like nothing better than to spend the day at the beach with Mitchell, showing him off, and she’d be happy to go anyplace with him for dinner… But a “yacht club”? Oh, yeah, it worked, alright. Marsha was impressed.
Forcing her excitement down, “The beach,” turning, taking a shot at sounding blasé, looking at her mother, watching her reaction, “and your yacht club for dinner tomorrow. Yes, Mitch, that sounds real nice.”
And she did get as reaction as, drawing on the cigarette, looking quizzically at her daughter, “A yacht club, yet. Fancy-schmancy.”
“Okay, Marcie, then we’ve got a date for all day tomorrow?” And a bit of tomorrow night would be nice, too.
And the next day! “Yes,” she said, “we sure have.”
“Okay, great! See you in a little while.”
“Bye, Mitchie.” Hanging up, “They’ve just sailed back from Michigan City, and we’re going to his home in Skokie for dinner…” Marsha had told Rhea that she had a date, and nothing more. “…but he says they’re in too much of a hurry to meet you now, Mother, and that he’ll meet you tomorrow when he comes to pick me up. We’re going to spend the day at the beach, and then…” hesitating, watching Rhea’s face, “we’re having dinner at his yacht club.”
“Yes, so I heard… Mitchell, uh,” appreciating money, Rhea was impressed, also. “what’s his last name again?”
“Lipensky, Mother. Mitchell Lipensky.”
“And you met him in the country? They have a place in Lakeside?”
“No, I don’t think they still do.” Sitting at the table, “And it wasn’t Lakeside, it was Union Pier, near the Lakeview Hotel.”
“This boy, this Mitchell Lipensky, he’s a schlub with pimples?”
“I didn’t say that, Mother; you did.”
“Well, no matter, don’t let him get away!”
“I don’t know if he’s really my type, Mother.”
“Jesus, Marsha, then he must be ugly as hell.”
“Well, you’ll get the chance to see for yourself tomorrow, Mother.”
Marsha had had plenty of time to decide what to wear on this night—a brand new, lilac-colored peddle-pusher outfit—but tomorrow? To a yacht club? Pushing the hangers in her hallway/closet apart… Yes! she thought. A light-blue linen skirt and matching, short-sleeved sailor blouse with dark-blue piping. Yes, perfect!
In the bathroom, Marsha put eye-liner and light-pink lipstick on; which was about all the makeup she ever wore.
…Running into the outer lobby, he pushed the Goldman button.
Her voice coming through the intercom almost immediately. “Hello!”
“Marcie,” the word slipping out, “honey, it’s me.”
Honey! He called me honey! “I’ll be right down!”
Hearing the click of the inner door lock, going into the lobby, waiting at the elevator… The door gliding open…
When she saw him, she smiled.
Oh, God! Appealing to him two days ago, now: tall, thin, youthfully radiant, the soft lilac color of her outfit setting off the deepness of her tan, her smile… Oh, God! Marsha’s smile touched him in a way no smile in memory had touched him and, his heart coming into his throat, Mitchell stood, stunned by the beauty before him… “I love you.” Faintly spoken, coming from within the soul of Mitchell Lipensky, “I love you.”
Throughout the years of her childhood, to this very moment, with the exception of her father, Marsha had felt unloved. Now, to her, Mitchell’s words were as beautiful as the first snow of winter, as warm as rain in May… “I love you, too.” The faintly spoken words, coming from within the soul of Marsha Goldman, “I love you, too.”
“Marcie…” Her soft words searing into his heart, searing into his mind, barely able to speak…
Standing five feet apart, she in the elevator, he in the lobby…
The door began to close, and…
He stepped inside and their arms found each other and their lips found each other.
Whispering, “I can’t believe it.” Marsha whispered. “I can’t believe this is happening.”
“Me, too, baby, me, too.”
“I think I’ve always wanted you and me together like this. But I never thought, not in a million years, that we ever would.” As though to confirm that it was Mitchell in her arms, pulling back, she looked at his face.
“Marcie, when I saw you at the J last year, then again the other night, I felt… something. I wasn’t sure then, but I am now. I love you, and think, maybe, I have since we first met.”
Not wanting to move from her arms, now or ever, “Yes?”
“Your dad and brother, they’re waiting in the car?”
“Christ! I forgot about ’em! Guess we’d better go, huh?”
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Pushing the button, the door sliding open, “Oh, and by the way, you were right, mister.”
Walking through the lobby, “Yeah?”
“Yeah! You are definitely scroungy, but cute.”
Wearing old, holey, cut-off jeans, a dirt-smeared T-shirt and dirty, white deck shoes without socks, he hadn’t shaved since Thursday morning when he’d left the Halfmoon.
“I’m kind’a thinking now’s a good time to grow a beard.”
“Don’t you dare!”
Opening the right, rear door for Marsha, “Dad,” he said proudly, “this is Marcie Goldman.” Closing the door quickly, Mitchell entered the Buick from the other side.
“Mister, Lipensky,” smiling, “I’m glad to meet you.”
Returning the smile, “Me, too, Marcie. Mitchell hasn’t shut up about you the whole trip.”
“And this squirt’s my brother… Larry, meet Marcie.”
“Jeeze, Mitchie, how come you lied? She ain’t all that ugly!”
“Well, Larry,” Marsha said, “You ain’t all that ugly, either.”
Walter and Larry formed an immediate affection for this girl, and the feeling was completely reciprocated.
“Guess we’d better get going! My wife’s going to kill us as it is.”
Checking for traffic, making a U-turn, driving west on Pratt Boulevard, glancing at Marsha in the rearview mirror, thinking, She’s beautiful! Walter sighed.