Better Late – 22

Shaynah surveyed the room, and was impressed with the calm good taste in which the spacious bedroom had been decorated. The double bed had a simple headboard in tasteful pine that had mellowed into a warm tone that was perfect against the pastel tangerine wall. The wall that faced the seething open water was mostly window, and so insulated that the room was silent in spite of the raging storm she saw outside. In a third wall there was a pastel green door half open to reveal a large, sparkling white bathroom. Mirrored sliding cupboard doors took up most of the rest of the wall.

Shaynah was shocked when she saw her image in the large mirror. The proverbial drowned rat couldn’t have looked worse. She slid a door aside and saw several different garments hanging neatly, many pairs of shoes on the closet floor, as well as a coat and a jacket. She went to the dresser that stood beside the door she’d entered through and opened the drawers. The top two were empty, but the bottom drawer was filled with exotic lingerie, patterned pantyhose, and even mesh stockings.

Shaynah handled the delicate undergarments, sniffed the clean fragrance of them, and was thrilled by the lightness and the shimmering sensuality of the nearly weightless fabrics. She hurriedly stripped off her coarse clothing and showered. Fatigued by the drive, the stresses of her encounter with David Goodman, the long, harrowing boat ride and the trauma of her rapidly changing values, she slipped into the comfortable bed and was soon in asleep.
Shaynah’s nap became a deep sleep, and her night passed more restfully than ever she could remember. She woke slowly and comfortably, completely aware of where she was. It was as if the dream she’d enjoyed during sleep merged naturally into the wakened reality. The life lived by David Goodman gripped her in a fist of temptation the like of which she’d never before experienced. It was as if the life imposed upon her by her marriage to Itzhak Gnavisch had been a sealed, airtight container and his death served to break the seal and permit a lifetime of frustration, curiosity, and secret desire to burst free. Irrationally, Shaynah had thoughts that her life might end before she ever experienced the secular life that appeared to be so exciting and stimulating in the society around her. It was as if she had been in an impenetrable fortress, walled against a sea of secular invaders. The walls had been breached by Itzhak’s demise and now Shaynah Levy hastened through her dreary past toward the warm light of personal liberty.

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