Momentarily quiet, recalling that long ago conversation with Frank Rizzo, “Baby, I’ve been thinking; I don’t want to spend our first night together—our only night together—at our parents. Let’s go to a hotel.”
Hesitating, “We’ll talk about it when you get in, okay?”
“Yeah, honey. But it wouldn’t bother me, not one bit, if you were to make a reservation someplace in the name of…” Now he hesitated. “God! I still can’t believe it… Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Lipensky.”
October 14, 1955, to October 18, 1955
The line silent a moment, a solemn look crossed Marsha’s face. As the day of this first marriage came closer, Marsha’s thoughts of how she was going to tell him had been on her mind almost constantly. And yet, still not having the words, “Believe me,” she said in absolute truth, “I can’t wait either!”
“Really, Marcie? Really? You can’t?”
‘Yes, really! I’ve told you before; most girls aren’t that much different from guys. We all want the same thing, only girls show it differently.”
Nervous about seeing Mitchell; first, because she was going to see him, and secondly, because of what she should have, but still hadn’t, told him.
As the plane taxied to the terminal, becoming ill, Marsha ran to the washroom.
“Hi!” Looking for her, Mitchell kissed his mother. Not too sure if he was supposed to kiss Rhea, he kissed her anyway.
This being the first time she’d been this close to him, Rhea looked closely at her very-soon-to-be son-in-law and, still wondering how it all came about, “She’ll be right back, Mitchell. She wasn’t feeling too well.”
Turning to the sound of his name, she was there, running to him.”
Coming together, “Oh, God, I missed you!” Embracing, “I love you!” they kissed.
After a few seconds, “Come on, kids.” Myra urged them apart. “It’s rush hour and we’ve a long drive downtown.”
“You okay, Marcie? Your mother said you weren’t feeling well.”
“No, honey. Now that you’re here, I’m just fine.”
“That wasn’t so bad,” Marsha asked, “was it?”
The blood test over, heading north on Lake Shore Drive.
“No, it never is. I guess it’s more the thought of the needle that gets to me.”
Throughout the long drive from Midway Airport to downtown Chicago, he’d been waiting for Marsha to say something, but she hadn’t, so, “So where’d you make the reservation?”
Turning from her place on the front seat, “Reservation?” Rhea looked at her daughter.
Thinking, Oh, God! Marsha turned her eyes from those of her mother.
“Monday,” Mitchell said, smiling, “after we’re married,” glancing at Marsha, looking back at Rhea, “Marsha and me are going to take off and spend the day—and night—together, alone.”
“Marsha, you didn’t tell him?”
This was the moment she’d been dreading for a month, and not knowing how to tell him, hadn’t. Looking out the window, answering her mother, “No.”
“No, Mitchell,” Throwing a stone into the water, making a long-lasting, reverberating ripple, “you two are not spending the night together, alone!”
“What do you mean, ‘we’re not spending the night alone’?”
“She was supposed to tell you!” Rhea said angrily. “I told her to tell you!”
“Tell me what?”
“What? What I said: that the two of you are not spending the night together, alone!”
“Why?” Sitting up in the seat, glaring at Rhea. “We will be married, won’t we?”
“Marsha, you tell him, now!”
“Mitchie,” she said haltingly, “in the eyes of God…” looking beseechingly at her mother, who, nodding her head emphatically, gave her daughter a go-ahead sign. “Uh, on Monday,” turning her face to the window, “in the eyes of God…” speaking as though by rote, “we won’t really be married.”
“What in the hell do you mean, we won’t really be married in the eyes of God? Who’s that religious all of a sudden?”
“Calm down, Mitchell! Monday is only a formality, and as far as we’re concerned,” nudging Myra with her knee, looking for support, but this had been all Rhea’s idea and Myra drove without comment. “…until you’re married by a rabbi, as far as your mother and I are concerned,” glancing at Myra, “you are not married in the eyes of God! And we want you to promise us, Mitchell, that you will not have, uh,” Marsha had, under great coercion, promised to take care of this, and Rhea was struggling to find, and say, the proper words. “…sex, uh, intercourse with my daughter.”
“Your daughter? My wife, you mean! I can’t believe this! Marsha, is this the way you want it?”
Knowing her morals, this, coming from Rhea at any other time would be ludicrous. But for the first time in her life Marsha was enjoying her mother’s attention—to say nothing of her money—and also, for the very first time in her life she felt loved by her mother. So, continuing to look out the window, “Yes,” she mumbled, “I guess so.”
“My daughter’s already promised us, and I want you to promise us, too, Mitchell, your mother and me, that you won’t, uh, do… it… until after the real wedding.”
“You know, Mrs. Goldman, I…”
“Rhea. If you want to, it’s okay to call me Rhea.”
“Okay, Rhea. I really don’t understand this!”
“I am spending a lot of money for a white gown! Do you know why a bride wears white, Mitchell?” Not waiting for an answer, “I’ll tell you why. It’s because white is the virginal color, and if Marsha is not a virgin when she gets married…”
“But we will be married!”
“When she really gets married,” looking at her daughter, “in the eyes of God, if she is not a virgin she does not deserve to wear the white gown!” Her dark eyes shift, looking into Mitchell’s first, then—as she’d turned from the window—Marsha’s. “Do you understand me, Mitchell?”
“Myra, you agree with me!” Nudging her again, harder, “Don’t you!”
Stopping for a traffic light, turning, looking at her son, trying to lighten the situation, “Look, you kids have all your lives to get laid. Just remember, you’re not really married…”
“Yeah, Mom, I know,” Mitchell said wearily, “in the eyes of God.”
“…until you break the glass under the huppe.” Looking forward, she accelerated away from the light.
“So, Mitchell, do I have your promise?”
“Rhea, I am not going to rape your daughter!” he said angrily. “If she’s promised she won’t, and if she doesn’t want me to, then it doesn’t matter whether I promise or not, because I love Marsha, and I would never do anything to her that she doesn’t want me to!”
“Okay, then it’s settled.” Turning, Rhea looked forward.
Oh, God! Mitchell thought. You’re going to drag this on forever, aren’t you? What have you got against me ever getting fucked… even by my own wife?