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Better Late – 19

August 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Shaynah tied her kerchief tightly over her blond wig. David recognised that it was a genuine Hermes scarf as he led the way to the door. This told him that the lady could afford to pay six hundred dollars for a kerchief. Outside, in the lashing rain, he took her arm and guided her toward the dock where “Sabbatical” was moored. David leapt into the boat that rocked and tugged at its moorings and bounced against the white rubber bumpers that hung from its chrome chocks. His movements were controlled and graceful as a leopard. He turned and held his large, tanned hand up to Shaynah. She placed her small white hand within it, and she felt a surge of confidence and trust that ran through her with a disturbing sensation. Shaynah staggered on the gently rocking deck and David’s firm, gentle grim steadied her with ease. He held her hand while he led her to the cabin door and opened it for her.

“No sense you getting soaked here,” he said. “Go below and try to get comfortable. You’ll find it’s quite warm and dry down there.”

With Shaynah well out of the weather, David started the diesel auxiliary engine. Conditions were not what he’d wish for to transport a mature, Hassidic lady to sell Sequester Island. The engine throbbed softly deep in the bowels of the hull. Alone in the cabin, Shaynah heard the engine start, and she felt the tremble in the hull. She removed her headscarf and looked around while she shook the rain from her jacket. Mahogany was everywhere, in the shelves along the sides, in the galley surrounding the stainless steel gas stove and refrigerator. There was a mahogany door that she opened and saw that it was a toilet and shower area. There was a small dining alcove and she sat there and folded the silk scarf neatly and placed it on the table.

The engine warmed up while David leaped easily up to the pier to release the fore and aft moorings and toss the lines onto the decks before he leaped back aboard. At the wheel, unconcerned about the warm rain that pounded on his face, David deftly guided the craft away from the pier and headed away from the marina toward the channel that led to Sequester Island. The twenty-nine-foot yawl rode into the rolling waves with an easy rocking motion as the sharp prow cleaved cleanly through the surf. Suddenly the cabin door burst open and Shaynah rushed up the steps and ran to the side of the boat just in time to throw up into the water.

“I’m so sorry, so sorry,” she gasped and sputtered in her embarrassment.

“Please, it’s alright. It happens to everyone,” David said. “I wanted to warn you about being below decks in bad weather, but I also didn’t want you to be out here getting soaked.”

“Well, here I am getting soaked all the same,” she snapped. I could have done without the nausea.”

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Better Late – 18

August 10, 2014 Leave a comment

“Perhaps you know that our marriages are arranged for us by the elder Rabbi of the congregation,” she said.

“Yes, I know,” he said, “and you can refuse if you wish.”

“That’s right.” Shaynah said, and paused to sip her coffee before she went on. The flavour was richer and more pleasant than her usual kosher coffee. “I didn’t refuse to marry the very unattractive, unintelligent Itzhak Gnavisch because it was best for the family. The union between the Gnavisch family and the Levy family resulted in vast improvements in the businesses and wealth of each.”

“So you lived your life in a distasteful situation for the good of your family,” David said. “I’m much more selfish. I have always taken care of my own desires as much as those of my relatives and friends.”

“Now is my time,” Shaynah said slowly and softly, as much to herself as to David Goodman. She had not really seen it that clearly before. “That’s why I’m interested in your property. Now is my time to experience the many things of which I’ve been deprived all my life.”

“You should go slowly,” David admonished her. “There is a lot of danger in the real world, from all kinds of sources. Take your time to learn about secular life. If you take too large a first step, you could trip yourself up, badly.”

Shaynah sat silently and drank her coffee and looked across the table at David Goodman who sat silently and drank his coffee while he looked back across the table at Shaynah Gnavisch.

“Please call me Ms. Levy,” Shaynah said as if reading his thoughts. “I want to take my married name, Levy. I want to drop the Gnavisch.”

“May I call you Shaynah?” he said. “It’s a very beautiful name. I like to say it.”

“Of course, if you wish,” Shaynah said. They finished their coffee.

“Look, uh… Shaynah,” David said, “the weather is pretty ugly out there, and frankly, I’m surprised you’re here. I really expected you to phone and cancel, in view of the weather.”

“If we let weather dictate our lives,” she said, “there would be too much time wasted. I’ve already wasted too much of my life.”

“Well, I certainly admit you show the kind of spirit I would not expect in a religious woman,” David said. “Let’s go.”

Better Late – 17

August 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Lights were on throughout the marina grounds even though it was mid-afternoon. The heavy storm clouds made the day dark, and gusting wind pushed waves against the pier and splashed them across the wooden platform. Shaynah parked in the visitors’ area beside the small coffee shop and tied a large scarf around her head and under her chin. David had said he’d wait for her in the coffee shop. She dashed from the car to the protection of the coffee shop, undaunted by the surging waves that swept across the pier decking and over her feet, soaking her legs and the bottom of her long, full, tweed skirt. She dashed under the protective marquee over the door and paused to shake the rain from her clothes and drop the kerchief from over her head to drape it on her shoulders.

Shaynah swept into the coffee shop and paused inside the door to look around the simple room. At a counter, too men in work clothes sat on stools chatting with the big-bosomed woman behind the counter while she wiped some glasses. Beside the tradesmen sat David Goodman. He looked up when Shaynah entered, and immediately swivelled his stool around and walked toward her with his hands deliberately down at his sides.

“Mrs. Gnavisch,” he said with his warm, boyish smile. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what to do. I would normally shake hands, but I know that your religion forbids married women from touching any man who is not her husband.”

“I am not a married woman,” Shaynah said, and held her hand out to him. He took in his warm, dry hand. “I’m a widow,” she said.

“Would you like coffee or… oh… sorry,” David said, “I forgot you can’t take anything not from a kosher kitchen.

“I’d like to have coffee if I may,” she said. “With sugar and cream, please.”

“I thought…” David began.

“My devotion to the religion passed away with my husband,” she said. David ordered two coffees from the woman behind the counter.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said.

“Thank you,” Shaynah said, “but you needn’t be.” She blushed at her boldness.

“I’m confused,” David said. The counter woman brought the coffee. Shaynah busied herself putting the sugar and cream into her coffee. While she stirred it, and David sipped his black coffee, Shaynah wondered how much to tell David. She looked up into his handsome, bronzed face with the liquid blue eyes that looked back with such frank clarity. The casual warmth in his voice was even more comforting than it had been on the computer speakers, and she decided that she really had no reason to hide anything from this young man. The thought trickled through her mind that he might be as much as twenty-five years her junior. But what did that matter? She was only looking at a property that he had for sale.