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BETTER LATE -4

Shaynah was happy to be able at last to think for herself. At forty-four she’d been unhappily married to Itzhak for a quarter-century. Throughout that time she’d never felt any passion, or even affection, toward herself. She did manage to masturbate from time to time, and that helped save her sanity. Now that the kids were grown and away from home, Shaynah was even lonelier than she had been while Itzhak was alive. The house was huge, and with no sounds, no children in the many rooms, Shaynah found it depressing to be there alone, with just the maid. She decided to look for a smaller place, perhaps a condominium or even a chalet in the country. She hoped to leave behind forever her life of limitations.

On summer nights when the air seemed laden with sensual potential, Shaynah suffered doubly from loneliness. She tried sitting and reading in room after room, but could find none that gave her comfort. She felt flushed and uncomfortable, even though the air throughout the house was fresh and clean, filtered through the efficient air conditioning system. Sleep eluded her, and she began to feel compelled to seek help. But what help could she seek, and from whom? Shaynah decided to stop torturing herself, tossing and turning in her bed when she knew sleep would not come.

Living by the Hassidic rules all her life, she did not read magazines, and did not look at television. She gave herself a promise to buy magazines and a television set. Shaynah got up and went to her computer. Normally she used the Internet only for business or shopping, and diligently avoided any sinful sites. But she felt different this night. She was alone in this house, and in her life. The burden of emptiness grew ever heavier and drove her to fantasies of a free life, a life that did not exclude pleasure, aesthetics, sensuality and sexual explorations.

Shaynah believed that her actions – if she had the courage to take action – would have a temporary effect on others, but it would pass. Her children would be shocked, as would her community and her rabbi, but there would be no real effect as far as their own lives were concerned. Her own life was her concern, and she wanted to live it before it was too late. Better late than never, she decided.

Seated at the in darkness in her shapeless night gown, her beautiful face illuminated in the glow from the monitor, Shaynah typed into her search engine country properties for sale and waited for the list of responses. The computer had never been used for anything but the family business and Shaynah waited eagerly to see what the Internet offered. When the search was completed, Shaynah scrolled down the list, read each entry, and hoped one would touch her. She asked God to help her in her time of loneliness and then scolded herself for turning to God. She determined at that moment to look inside herself to find the resources she needed to proceed into a more satisfactory life.

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