The Second Day of Their Lives
Seagate, New York
December 19, 1955: 9:40 a.m.
A thick beam of sunlight casting through the seams of the drapes laid a swath of brilliance across the bed.
Turning from his left side—the position he kept from the time he’d hit the bed—to his right side, the brilliant line of light lay across his face caused a dull red glow beneath his eyelids. Opening his eyes, quickly screwing them shut again, disoriented a moment… remembering where he was, turning back to his left side, Mitchell looked at the disarray of black hair on the pillow next to him.
For some unknown reason, each of the three times they’d slept together, he’d automatically gone to the right side of the bed and Marsha to the left.
Except for the melodious sound of Marsha’s breathing, the room was perfectly quiet.
Luxuriating beneath the comfort of the feather quilt, feeling the warmth of Marsha’s body, he had an all but uncontrollable urge to press against her, and his hand actually ached for the feel of a breast. And his penis, swelled with desire, and a very full bladder and, oh, yes, how he wanted to wake Marsha to see if he could get her to do to him what she had done to him at the planetarium. But knowing, to say the least, that it would not be nice to wake her, and besides, he was rather sure she wouldn’t. Wondering if she was sleeping nude too, but rather sure she wasn’t, moving closer, realizing she was wearing her flannel pajamas, nonetheless his penis nesting, snuggling even closer…
Waking again, it was an hour later and though he’d had to urinate earlier, now he really had to. Leaving the comfort of the bed and the warmth of Marsha, going into the bathroom, he closed the door, and so long as he was up, Mitchell brushed his teeth, took a shower and shaved. Coming from the bathroom nude, going to the bottom drawer of the dresser—the only drawer he kept for himself—he took underwear and socks, then a sweat shirt and a pair of jeans off hangers in the closet, dressed, put his coat on and, quietly opening and closing the door, went downstairs.
Most of the gifts and clothing having been sent ahead—part of a gift of luggage from one of Marsha’s aunts—there were two suitcases in the trunk with the remainder of Marsha’s clothing that Rhea and Eli had brought to Skokie yesterday. The balance of his clothing, some of it folded and some on hangers, was laid out on the back seat.
Stepping through the plate-glass door, squinting against the glare of brilliant sunlight reflected upon a world of snow, Mitchell breathed deeply of the invigorating, salt-tinged, cold air, then ran across the plowed street, through the calf-high snow that lay upon the winter lawn, up the five weathered, wooden steps and through the outer foyer door of Aunt Ida’s house.
In the 1920s, the home of Meyer and Ida Charney had been one of the showplaces of Seagate. But when Myer passed away in 1939 leaving little but obligations, in time, Ida had been forced to convert the imposing three-story, wood frame structure into three separate apartments. Ida now lived in four rooms on the first floor.
Knocking on the door, stamping his feet on the hairy, kapok mat, “It’s me, Mitchell!”
“Mitchell!” Taking the security chain off the door, Ida opened it. “Come in! I was worried about you because of the snow.”
At age seventy-eight, not prone to stooping, Ida still carried her tall, thin body upright. Her gray hair was intermixed with wide strands of black. The skin of her face was comparatively taut for a woman her age, and only Ida’s liver-spotted hands and arms reflected her true age.
Coming out of the vestibule into the overly heated, musty-smelling apartment, “Hi! I wanted to let you know we got here okay.”
“I knew you were driving yesterday, and hoped you’d have sense enough to stop when it began snowing.”
“Actually, I didn’t. We got here about four.”
“So, all’s well that ends well.”
Invited to the wedding, having never flown, declining due to the long trip, “Tell me, how’d the wedding go? How’s your bride, and where is she? Your mama and papa, they’re well?”
Smiling at the barrage of questions, “Aunt, Ida, the wedding was beautiful, and except for you not being there, everything went great. Mom and dad are fine and Marsha’s still in bed.”
“Good, Mitchell. I’m glad everything went so well.”
“I’ve got to unload the car, and just wanted to let you know we got here okay.”
Looking forward to, and happy to have her grand-nephew and his new bride living close by, “Mitchell, when your Marsha gets up, I want you to call me and bring her for breakfast,” Looking at the clock on the wall, “or lunch. Let me know which when you call, okay?”
A bit uncomfortable due to the heat, “Sure, Aunt Ida. I’ll call here as soon as she gets up.” Backing out of the room, into the vestibule, running down the stairs and across the street, opening the trunk, he hefted the suitcases out.
Her feet bare, wearing a pair of slacks that had been sent ahead and a brassiere she’d found in one of her drawers, hearing the door open, “Hi!”
The sofa bed closed, the door to the bathroom open, “Hi.” Putting the suitcases down, unzipping his jacket, “When’d you get up?” he asked as, standing in the doorway—the thought that Marsha was really here still unbelievable—he watched as she brushed her hair.
“A few minutes ago… Where’d you go?”
“Over to Aunt Ida’s to tell her we got in okay. She wants us to come over for breakfast, or lunch, whichever you want, and told me to call when you got up.”
“Tell you what; soon as I’m done, I’ll call Aunt Ida and introduce myself. So, in the meantime,” looking at his reflection in the mirror, “why don’t you bring another load up, and when we’re done eating, you’n’me’ll schlep the rest… How’s come you look so cute?”
“Me? Cute? Really?” Coming closer, looking at himself over her shoulder, “What’s so cute about me now that’s cuter than usual?” Smiling, wrapping his left arm about her bare stomach, bringing his right hand up, under her arm, holding Marsha’s right breast—that felt so nice—hugging her…
“Mitchell,” squirming, “your hands are freezing!”
Well aware, “Oh, yeah, sorry.” Releasing his hold about her stomach, but not her breast. “So, what’s so cute about me?”
Each looking at other’s reflection.
“Yeah,” trying to sound stern, “I’ll just bet you’re sorry!” Turning to him, “On second thought, nothing’s cute about you, now.” Smiling, placing her arms about his neck, “Your face, you big jerk! Your cheeks are so red you look like a pixie.”
“Yeah,” looking at himself in the mirror, “you’re right! I am truly an adorable person.” Bringing both hands up, pretending to grab hold of both breasts…
Squirming away, “Mitchell, don’t you dare!”
Opening a dresser drawer, taking a sweater, carefully pulling it over her head, “By the way, even though almost everything’s got to be changed”—actually, she’d expected to find everything still in boxes—“you did a pretty good job of putting our stuff away. Thanks.”
Passing on the backhanded compliment, “You’re welcome.”
“How’s it outside?”
“Beautiful. Cold. Sunny. There’s maybe six inches of good-packing snow on the ground, and I thought that later we might make a snowman.”
“Maybe tomorrow, but today we’ve lots of stuff to do.”
“Like what? What could possibly be more important than making a snowman?”
“What could be more important than making a snowman, huh?” Taking a pair of rolled bobbysocks out a drawer, sitting on the sofa, “How’s about shopping for groceries?” Putting a sock on, “Looking at your big, fat, tubby belly…”
Looking down, he sucked a non-existent gut in.
“…you sure don’t look like you miss any meals.”
“Yeah, that’s true , I never miss a meal!”
“And between the money we had, and what we took from the wedding, we’ve been carrying more than a thousand bucks around, so we’ve got to open a checking account.” Pulling the other sock on, “And also,” she laughed, “I know how much you enjoy watching The Mickey Mouse Club, so we’d better buy a television someplace.”
“Yeah!” Singing, spelling, “M-I-C-K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E!”
“And it that’s not enough,” ticking them off on her fingers, “we’ve got to go to Aunt Ida’s for breakfast, and we’ve got to line the cabinets, and drawers, and the shelf in the closet, and put everything away where it really belongs… We’ve lots of stuff to do today!”
“Yeah, okay, I guess we’ve lots’a’stuff to do.” Pretending to pout, “But do we gotta do it all today? Do we gotta?”
“Yeah, little boy, we gotta!” Standing, “Go on, get another load… Where’s Aunt Ida’s number?”
Still on the phone when he returned with an armful of his clothing, “Yes, okay, Aunt Ida, we’ll be there in a few minutes… Bye-bye.” Looking at Mitchell, “How do I look? Think I ought to put some makeup on?”
“For Aunt Ida?”
“Yeah, for Aunt Ida, and you, too!”
“As far as I’m concerned, you look great without any.” He did—he truly liked how Marsha looked without makeup.
“Thanks, but I’m going to put some on anyway.”
He watched as she applied eyeliner and a bit of lipstick.
Turning, holding her arms from side to side, “Okay?”
“Yeah, you’re beautiful. Let’s go all ready; I’m starving!”
“Okay, okay, already! Let me get my coat.”
Besides her pink leather coat with the black fur collar and fur-lined, calf length boots—spotting it on the back seat with his clothes—she also wore Mitchell’s ‘N’ baseball cap: the N for Niles Township High School, but she referred to it as his nudnik hat. Nudnik, as in pest, as in nag, as in one that annoys. “So,” she finally asked, “aren’t you ready yet?”
“Aren’t I ready?” Going to her, taking her face in his hands, he kissed her.
“What’s that for?”
Thinking she looked adorable in his nudnik hat, “Just ’cause you’re so damned cute.”
“You’re just saying that ’cause I said it to you.”
“Yeah, that’s right, you’re not so damned cute.”
Taking the elevator down, hand in hand, “My, God!” walking outside, Marsha’s eyes partially closed against the brightness, stopping on the top step, “what a beautiful day!”
“It’s really pretty here, isn’t it?”
Looking at the mix of older and newer well-maintained houses across the bare-limbed, tree-lined street. “Lovely, just lovely! And the air…” breathing deeply through her nostrils, “smells wonderful!”
“We’re on the tip of a tiny peninsula, remember, and what you’re smelling is salt air.”