Sunday, December 21, 2008

TWISTED CANDLES, a Chanukah Story



© 2008 by EllaRegina

Judith saw herself as Eleanor Rigby, the Jewish version, only she didn't keep her face in a jar by the door. Instead, it was permanently fixed, locked into a doleful expression. Widowed young and unexpectedly, Judith lived alone in a large pre-War apartment building, 18 stories up, in the north tower of the San Remo on Central Park West, with a splendid aerial view; a legacy from Solomon, her late husband: 2500 square feet of beautifully furnished rooms, empty of people like the historical replicas at the Metropolitan Museum, but without a velvet cordon barrier rope across each threshold -- an oversized dollhouse waiting for its playful inhabitants to arrive.

Solomon had been hit by a yellow taxicab one Sunday morning while crossing Broadway with an order of bagels, smoked salmon and whitefish from Zabar's, the food orchestrated wayward and airborne as a result of the collision, eventually scattering over the street like the letters O (the bagels) and I (the strips of fish): OI! And the couple had just decided that it was time to start a family. They were going to begin "trying" that very morning. The brunch Solomon was bringing home would serve as celebration and sustenance for a day-long fertility ritual of lovemaking.

Judith's girlfriends helped her grieve. After a year, they suggested she place an ad on JDate.com and move forward with her life. Then, one by one, the women disappeared; they could only take so much. Judith had become a black cloud, and one would have to be a real friend to endure the darkness she cast. Judith ultimately learned that she had no real friends after all.

Judith went for the spin on JDate, twirling like a dreidel for several years, meeting one handsome accomplished Jewish man after another. Nothing ever worked out. There was Adam, the restaurateur with the peppermill penis and a menu's worth of anger issues; David, the contract lawyer on whom she performed a handjob while they watched a Jennifer Aniston movie one afternoon, lying on his brown leather couch -- reprising the event two days later with Annie Hall as background aphrodisiac. David, who never replied to her last e-mail; Judah, the charismatic Israeli rock star with an exotic shaynah madel in every Jewish port of call; Zev, the emotionally-withholding architect whose hypnotic smell made her his slave in bed. He had "commitment issues," thought Judith, but when Zev left her for another -- non-Jewish -- woman, Judith realized that he simply could not commit to her. She had high hopes for Dr. Moses, the colorectal surgeon; dashing and creative. Judith liked calling him Dr. Moses in lieu of Eli, his first name, and enjoyed being travel companion on his "busman's holiday" -- for Dr. Moses the rectum was not only a place of business, so to speak, but also the locus of his sexual predilection; he was the first to whom Judith had opened that particular portal. She figured Dr. Moses knew what he was doing, inside and out, and if he fucked her up while fucking her could also repair the damage he'd caused, and probably at no charge. But, after playing doctor with Judith for a number of months and countless "house call examinations," he, too, evaporated like gas, disappearing into the city noise one evening on the pretext of an emergency case of bolting flatulence at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Judith regularly attended Beth Jehudah, a k a B.J., the local synagogue, known for its hot single desirable congregants and the social whirl of activities organized just for them. It attracted those in search of tradition and prayer as well as others looking for a mate, if not forever then for as long as it lasted. It was at B.J. that Judith met Reuben the engineer, who, despite his tediously boring conversations, brought her places on the crisp Pratesi sheets (a wedding present from Solomon's parents) she'd never been to before. Reuben departed after a few months, more interested in making sure buildings remained vertical than in keeping Judith horizontal and satisfied. Benjamin was another fellow B.J.-er. Substantially younger than Judith -- they were several rounds of college-year cycles apart -- he'd made millions composing the three-note audio squiggle heard when connecting to the telephone company. Judith and Benjamin feverishly e-mailed each other several times a day, spoke on the telephone as if they were old friends, but then, following a series of sporadic dates, he became increasingly unavailable, no explanation. After three weeks of Benjamin missing-in-action, Judith spotted his face on JDate.com and knew her time with him was up; she assumed the young stud had picked on someone his own age.

The Disappointers. That's how Judith came to view them. She stopped dating altogether and became more involved with Beth Jehudah, not for its social offerings, but volunteering -- doing mitzvahs like bringing hot food to poor elderly Jews living alone -- and taking classes in the Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism. She resigned herself to a life outside the body -- a life of the mind and soul. If there were a Jewish convent Judith would have been first in line to join the Order. She kept to herself and her little daily routines, living her Jewish Eleanor Rigby life 18 stories above Central Park, trying not to dwell on what might have been but was clearly not to be.

The First Night

Erev Chanukah fell on the Sabbath this year and were Judith at Beth Jehudah she would be hearing the Torah portion recounting Joseph's dream, but she did not go to services; this was a holiday she always preferred to celebrate at home, observing it privately. The menorah candles were to be lit first, followed by the two Shabbat candles, 18 minutes before sunset. Judith used the same cheap tinny menorah saved from her teenaged Hebrew school days, filling the first holder -- all the way on the right -- with one of 44 thin multicolored twisted candles packed into the small blue box from an Ohio Yeshiva, a product unchanged since her childhood. She said the blessings and lit the azure blue helper candle -- the shamash -- then used it to light the first Chanukah candle, a red one, and placed the shamash in its custodial position, higher than those of the other holders. She lit the Shabbat candles, reciting the appropriate prayers.

Judith consumed her typically parsimonious meal, an odd combination of things as always -- tonight just a plate of potato pancakes she'd fried that afternoon, a side of applesauce, and an excellent glass of Katzrin, a rich garnet-colored wine produced only in outstanding vintages by a winery in the Golan Heights, the source for most of her Chanukah meals' alcoholic accompaniment. She sat at the dining room table and stared at the two burning lights, almost in a trance -- like a still photograph, unblinking -- until they were smoky wicks. She brought her empty plates and glass into the kitchen where she deposited them into the dishwasher. Then she took a long hot bath, put on a pair of Solomon's colorful silk pajamas -- he'd tracked down a rainbow of vintage unused new "dead stock" Sulka silk nightwear on eBay, each pair a different rich hue; in a sentimental moment after his death Judith had them altered to her size -- and crept into bed.

Sleep came quickly, aided by the Katzrin and the tub soak. Judith fell smoothly into fast-moving yet languid dream vignettes. The forest green silk pajamas were being taken off, her body caressed by the hands of a man. She could smell him in her sleep and tried to identify who he might be. It was like the scene in Rosemary's Baby where Rosemary is ravished by the devil and says This is no dream! This is really happening! But this was not a demon, though he was clearly other-worldly, and he was partly familiar. Judith recognized Zev, the architect, but he was kinder here, even talking to her, encouraging her and exuding moans of arousal. Zev had never uttered a word or made a sound in bed, not even when he came, which had consistently driven Judith totally meshugah, mesmerized as she was by his scent. Now he was saying things to her new to his lips, dirty things which made her sleeping pussy flood. He rubbed her entire body with oil -- olive oil -- that seemed to drip from his fingertips, but in the dream Judith didn't worry about how it was going to stain the good sheets. She let Zev say the filthy words to her, put his cock in her over and over, hard and steady, beginning with her mouth, where she could taste centuries of olive groves. Zev filled her up however and wherever he wanted, defiled her to their mutual delight, in a way that felt like he really meant it, which had never been his style. This was a new Zev, an emotive and giving Zev, and he made her come several times before she woke up.

In the morning Judith opened her eyes, staring at the pale blue ceiling painted with white clouds. Her forest green pajamas were carefully folded, sitting on top of the bottom sheet in a neat pile, like part of a store display, the white duvet pushed down into the footboard of the sleigh bed, as if there had been a fight for which the arena had to be cleared before the rumble could begin. Every inch of Judith's skin was soft and moisturized, albeit of a slightly sallow tinge. When she swallowed she tasted olive oil.

The Second Night

On the second night of Chanukah Judith lit the candles and ate her dinner, changing only from Katzrin to Sangiovese, with its nuances of chocolate, spice and oak -- eager to re-enter the ecstatic dreamworld she had experienced the night before. She unfoiled a few Chanukah gelt coins and let them dissolve on her tongue while fixated on the three flames, absent-mindedly flattening the gold wrappers' embossed menorahs, Hebrew lettering and ridged edges with her thumbnail until the sheets were unadorned mirror-like circles. After her bath she dressed in her silk pajamas, slid into bed and was soon asleep.

Again a pair of hands unbuttoning her top, caressing her breasts, pulling off her pants. Judith's eyes opened. It was Adam, soft and smiling, warm and sweet, not angry as she had known him outside of this dreamspace, in his restaurant. He massaged her as Zev had the previous night, olive oil emanating from his fingertips as well. They kissed, Adam wrapping himself around Judith like a snake, pulling her towards his heat. She could feel his peppermill cock hitting her belly. His was the shamash, for sure, the tallest Chanukah candle. She could smell his muskiness mixed with olive oil. Like Zev, Adam was naked, paralleling his Eden counterpart -- no clothing in sight.

Judith skimmed his erection from base to head, cradling his balls, gently squeezing them. She put three fingers in her mouth to collect more lubrication. They tasted like chocolate, specifically the variety used in Chanukah gelt. The moonlight coming through the curtainless windows illuminated the bedroom enough for Judith to see that her fingers were milk-chocolate brown. She glanced at the peppermill. It appeared to be made of solid chocolate. Judith put her tongue on Adam's cock, to confirm its composition. She licked it playfully. Indeed, from top to bottom: chocolate, even the balls. She began to suck -- Adam deep inside her mouth now -- wondering whether his cock would shrink in size with her consumption of it, like a popsicle in the sun. But it did not melt. It was warm and sweet.

Adam fucked Judith's mouth like this, gently at first and then with more force. He pulled out and placed his lips on hers, working his brown lollipop inside her down below. They bucked at each other for hours, and though Adam's cock did not diminish in measurement, with each thrust it left warm cocoa syrup on her inner walls. He came in a hot drizzle of olive oil, exactly as Zev had the first night. When Judith awoke the next day, the bed was littered with Chanukah gelt wrappers buckled like golden rose petals -- no traces of chocolate on their inner silvery sides -- reflecting the early light. Her lavender pajamas were in a sharply-folded stack at the foot of the bed, the duvet moved aside.

The Third Night

The third night of Chanukah was much like the second except there was another candle in the menorah and a glass of Merlot to drink while Judith watched the wax burn, mesmerized. After dinner, she put Dead Sea salt crystals in the bathtub, let all limbs drop from contact with the porcelain and tried to float on the water -- as if she were in Israel itself -- but, even light as she was, she kept hitting bottom. Judith lay in the tub until her fingers wrinkled, then dried off and put on her pajamas.

It was Judah tonight, like his Chanukah hero namesake Yehudah HaMakabi: Judah the Maccabee; Judah the Hammer. He was there with her, just the two of them; no other women, no ports calling, his hammer at the ready -- a warrior sword, taken from Apollonius. But this was no ordinary length of metal; it was warm rigid flesh, pointed between Judith's legs.

"How can I serve you?" asked Judah.

"Purify my temple!" Judith ordered.

She was not used to such commands emerging from her lips, especially with men. She was the passive one, the one to submit. But suddenly she felt the need to tell this soldier what to do. Luckily, Judah had no problem switching roles and he purified Judith's defiled temple as she asked him to, and in the way she desired, multiple times -- her pale winter legs draped over his broad shoulders, knees at each ear -- as he plunged his mighty sword inside her again and again until morning broke, kneading her flesh with his oily fingers, rolling her around the sheets, emptying himself within her in a tumult of screams, hot olive oil filling her insides. When she lifted her eyelids at daybreak she was alone in her cloud-bedecked sleeping chamber; the turquoise pajamas perfectly arranged at bed's edge, duvet draped over the footboard like a fortress wall.

The Fourth Night

Judith realized that the form-changing spirit joining her in bed each night was not an incubus as she had first thought. She'd learned of incubi in her Jewish Mysticism class at Beth Jehudah. A true incubus was a demon with an unnaturally cold penis, representing pure evil. Repeated sexual penetration by such a creature would result in the deterioration of a woman's health, or even her death. But this being's penis was far from cold and Judith did not become weaker. On the contrary. These Chanukah dreams invigorated her; she was progressively energized after every night's encounter to the point where a smile started to grow on her face, turning skywards with each successive day. She left the house more frequently for no particular reason -- not to see her periodontist or pick up some organic clementines at Whole Foods -- just to walk, no destination in mind, and breathe the crisp December air. She wandered the landscape of Central Park, enchanted by its winter costume. She watched the ice skaters at Wollman Rink with a twinkle in her eye. Judith understood that the men in bed each night were her Chanukah presents, and each had arrived already unwrapped. They were a dream life of what could have been -- perfect sex with the flawed men who had discarded her, now in their freshly-minted, untainted, and attentive versions.

On the fourth night the fried latkes and applesauce filled Judith's flat stomach as they had the previous three nights. The wine selection was a dusky aromatic Cabernet. Four candles burned in the menorah with the fifth, the shamash, overlooking the others from on high. Judith watched the flames with deep interest. There were five now: it was midway into the Festival of Lights. She took her bath, staring at the glittering chandelier suspended over the tiled room, its teardrop silhouettes cast upon the walls -- half shadow, half sparkle. A facing mirror showed her pale form amid the still fluoride-green-tinted water, her small breasts' rosy areolae and nipples exposed -- twin compacts of her grandmother's rouge -- buoyed at sea level.

Out of the tub and dry, she dressed herself in Solomon's pale spring green pajamas, put her feet into charcoal wool suede-soled L.L. Bean slipper socks and padded, fully relaxed, into the bedroom where she was soon on the other side.

David found her somewhere south of a moonbeam. Although he did not speak Judith could tell that she was the focus of his attention, not Jennifer Aniston or Annie Hall. He kissed her, his tongue leaping into her mouth like a serpent. He almost breathed fire. He was anything but the lethargic, pathologically-bored sexual-favor-recipient of yore. David massaged Judith's body from head to toe, beginning with her champagne-fluted breasts and working towards larger anatomical parts. His fingers, like the others before him in these nocturnal alliances, dangled filaments of aromatic olive oil. With David there seemed to be an abundance. Judith put it to practical use, as in their past duet of meetings, but this time without a container holding lubricant. She gathered a palm-puddle of oil from his fingertips and applied it to his upright cock. It wavered slightly with excitement, as if a separate being. She coated this warm limb in oil, spreading it evenly along the skin and then began stroking it, coaxing it -- first with one hand, then the other; sometimes with both. She was teasing David, stopping and starting, randomizing the pace of her motions. His eyes never left hers.

She could see peripherally that the room was changing: wallpaper printed with pages from contractual law books unrolled from the floor in an ascent, adhering to the walls, its letters rearranging themselves -- the sentences reversed to read from right to left as if written in Hebrew; David was, after all, a Jewish lawyer. But still, his gaze was solidly upon her, his prick alive and guided by her knowing hands. They kissed again, this time with mouthfuls of oil. It was a flood. They were kissing and swallowing simultaneously. Judith concentrated on David's cock, her own deluge between her silken legs. David's fingers found that warm wet place, lodging themselves as Judith continued to work his baton. She could feel his arousal, his swollen happiness, and that he was close. She was almost there as well. David could be very good with his hands when he put his mind to it.

The point of no return finally arrived, for both of them. Fine print serif letters fell from the wall in a cascade of boilerplate vocabulary -- of whereof and hereunto and pursuant and forthwith and herein and thereof and thereto -- as David spouted, olive oil shooting to the ceiling as from a geyser, and out of Judith's radiant opening the same, a torrent, neither of the natural wonders ceasing. The olive oil continued to spring and stream, flowing onto the floor, soon welling into a wading pool, and then, with the unbroken wave of effluvia a rising tide, incrementally absorbing the furniture, creeping towards the 19th floor, the wallpaper buckling and detaching with the moisture's effect. David and Judith -- Senior Lifesaver-certified both, fortunately, thanks to Jewish day camp several decades back -- were unmoored and free-floating, ascending with the push of oil, her hand still on his shooting prick, his fingers still inside her, until they reached the bedroom light, shaded by an upturned antique parasol from France. Their heads bobbed at the ceiling, sealed in a slippery kiss, until the oil veiled their mouths, filled their nostrils and obscured their eyes.

When the sunlight woke Judith she was in bed, dry; the room exhibiting its normal state: pale, gray-painted unadorned walls, the red-patterned Oriental rug, a black lacquered armoire, an empty birdcage, a slipper chair, a fainting couch, a wall of books -- all of them with letters intact. The duvet was accordion-folded at the base of the footboard, the pale spring green pajamas exquisite Origami.

The Fifth Night

Judith lit the five candles one by one with the shamash, recited the blessings and sat down to her Chanukah meal, accented by Pinot Noir, redolent of flowers, raspberries, cherries and the forest floor. She retired earlier than usual, feeling sore, as if she had spent the entire previous night swimming in a pool without end. She filled the tub, adding several capfuls of therapeutic spruce bath oil. She needed to be loose and refreshed for dreamland.

Reuben the engineer visited, bearing seasonal gifts of Chanukah jelly doughnuts -- Israeli sufganiyot -- in the form of his two testicles. Perfectly rounded they were, as would be expected of an engineer's balls; perhaps they had been created on a computer. A layer of confectioner's sugar surrounded the red jelly nipples sprouting like half cherries from the center of each fried doughnut's bloated surface. Judith took off her yellow pajamas and tossed them to the foot of the bed. She threw the small mountain of bolsters and pillows onto the slipper chair.

Reuben gently squeezed one of his balls until a kernel of jelly popped out. He caught the substance with his other hand, made Judith lie down and parted her legs. She complied. He took the jelly and loaded it into the gaping mouth at the bottom of her torso. Then he straddled her -- knees on either side of her chest -- and put his cock into her mouth, at the same time extruding more jelly from his doughnuts and reaching between Judith's legs to pack her until the goo protruded in a hillock. His cock tasted sweet, as if sugared.

They quickly switched into a 69 position. There was no talking, which was preferable, Reuben being so excruciating conversationally; to not have that pressure, to only engage with him physically, was a dream come true, in a dream. Judith smelled like a spruce tree which somehow blended perfectly with the bouquet of fried dough, sugar and jelly. They put their mouths on each other's private sweetness. Judith softly massaged Reuben's sugar-coated balls as she sucked on them, licking the white powder from here and there. She took each ball carefully into her mouth, coaxing a little jelly from each one. She slid her lips over his erection, her saliva turning its exterior into a syrup condom, which she then licked until it melted and she reached flesh again. In the meanwhile, Reuben was studiously sucking the jelly out of Judith, delicately tickling her clitoris, hidden beneath the glossy redness yet its location well-known to him.

A drift of white powder began to fall from the ceiling as they worked on each other -- the bedroom transformed into a wintry Japanese erotic print. They toiled beneath an endless descent of sugar granules, some fine of flake, others coarse as grains of kosher salt. The flurry lightly coated the floor, letting the room reflect the lunar gleam. It covered their connected bodies in a white blanket. There was no sound, nothing heard from the real city beyond the windowpanes. And, even with Judith's body a snow-covered mountain, Reuben knew every trail. She arched her hips when his tongue touched her sweet spot; he bucked forward as her cheeks drew him inside, her tongue wrapped around his pole. They were a candy necklace; mouth fucking, ball-sucking and jelly-gathering for what seemed to Judith at once an infinity and an instant. Reuben kept her perfectly vertical -- his oil shooting into her mouth like a running faucet; her jelly-filled pouch a quivering Jell-o mold -- until the crack of dawn, at which point the sugar snow stopped its fall and Reuben vanished, this time leaving in the duty of a spirit, not in abandonment as he had before.

Judith awoke in a bed free of sugar dust, her long brown hair spread over an assortment of cushions, the duvet a jelly roll at her feet, the yellow pajamas squarely placed on the bed corner like a bakery package.

The Sixth Night

The shamash had six Chanukah candles to light. Judith said the prayers. She'd made a fresh batch of potato pancakes that morning and the applesauce was of her own creation, cooked from several pounds worth of Golden Delicious bought at the Union Square Greenmarket on Wednesday, the day before. The wine for this evening's Chanukah tasting flight was a bright purple Gamay Nouveau, which advertised itself as "shouting youth!"

And, so it was, that after her bath and the retreat under the bedclothes, who should appear but the representative of a later crop, Benjamin, the young man of few notes -- each of them worth several millions. Benjamin had been an uneven suitor and he and Judith never actually slept together. Now, here, as the nightly spirit had ferried him, newborn-naked, she could plainly see the impressive monument she'd never had the pleasure of meeting. Aimed towards the heavens was Benjamin's marble pillar, its veiny roadmap visibly pulsing.

Benjamin was humming. Apparently, he could string more than three notes together in dreams. It was the Chanukah song, Ma'oz Tzur, "Stronghold of Rock," whose melody and lyrics were printed on the back of every blue cardboard Chanukah candle box, below an illustration portraying a man at table's end wistfully lighting an oversized fully-loaded menorah while two boys watch from his left; a sand-colored in-perspective stone fortress and desert trees as background. Judith always found the image strange -- why was a table set up outside, in the middle of a landscape? And no women or girls -- were they home frying potato latkes?

Benjamin segued his tune -- singing now -- into the English version, Rock of Ages, as he pulled Judith's pajamas off, never missing a beat. He could not kiss as his mouth was already occupied but he could do other things to celebrate the holiday.

Rock of Ages let our song
Praise thy saving power;


The younger man took Judith by the legs and flipped her over like a coin, onto her stomach, as if her legs were the wooden handles of an arcade game.

Thou amidst the raging foes,
Wast our shelt'ring tower.


With tower, he grabbed Judith's rear and pulled her into a kneeling position, pink hindquarters in the air.

Furious they assailed us,
But Thine arm availed us,


At the word arm Benjamin reached into Judith's wetness, testing the waters. He was humming again, his lips and tongue directly on Judith's succulent offering, the vibrations of his musical expression acting as a tuning fork on her flesh. She moved her hips from side to side, each swing coinciding with his outbursts' rhythm. His hands caressed her buttocks and thighs as he hummed, olive oil slipping his fingertips over her body.

Soon Judith could feel his mighty column at her fortress opening. He was singing again, almost yelling:

And Thy word broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us,
And Thy word broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us.


The first sword brought Benjamin across her moat; with the second, his aged rock plowed through the fortress door.

He repeated the stanzas, cued by every other word to thrust deeply inside Judith; power and sword merited more profound buttressing.

Benjamin began a new verse, emphasizing specific phrases or words with his movements:

Kindling new the holy lamps,
Priests, approved in suffering,
Purified the nation’s shrine,
Brought to God their offering.
And His courts surrounding
Hear, in joy abounding,
Happy throngs,
Singing songs
With a mighty sounding.


Judith gripped the sheets with Benjamin's every penetration, fearing that they would both take flight. Captivated by his own song, Benjamin was almost davening as he fucked, slapping against the female warmth percussively, his hardness resolute, a notable difference for Judith, accustomed to the carnal embraces of much older men, whether real or hallucinated.

His motions became increasingly frenetic, as if bewitched:

Children of the martyr race,
Whether free or fettered,
Wake the echoes of the songs
Where ye may be scattered.


At that last word Judith felt Benjamin's cock twitch, like a shifting gear. He continued, lost in his own momentum, Judith centered on his obelisk at it rammed her with pleasure, reciprocating with her own jiggles:

Yours the message cheering
That the time is nearing


Judith was about to come.

Which will see
All men free,


Hot oil rang out of Benjamin and into Judith with those lines, setting both into a spasm lasting some minutes. Benjamin managed to utter one last phrase and a final riposte:

Tyrants disappearing.

And with that word he, too, faded, becoming part of the room's darkness.

Judith's eyes were opened by daylight. The bed was orderly, save for the retracted duvet. Her purple pajamas were in repose on the sheet, as if just delivered by the hand laundry.

The Seventh Night

On the seventh Chanukah night Judith lit the candles, recited the blessings and sat down to her meal of latkes, applesauce and a glass of Syrah smelling of earth and oak. She was spellbound by the almost-full menorah, the candles emitting a small orange wave of heat. Her bath was no special ritual this evening, just routine. Judith fell into bed with a perfectly clean body.

Dr. Eli Moses entered the dream, his cock at midnight, likely coinciding with the actual time; he was a very exacting surgeon. He carefully unbuttoned the top of Judith's sky blue pajamas -- the same color as the scrubs he wore in his office -- removing it as from a sleeping child. Judith pretended to slumber but she was bubbling with anticipation; she knew what Dr. Moses would be doing with her. He undid the drawstring of the pajama bottoms, peeling them down imperceptibly so as not to wake her, pausing when he reached the triangle of coiled, neatly-trimmed brown hair and lowering his face, enchanted by its perfume. He pulled the pants all the way off and Judith opened her eyes. Words were not necessary. It was as if everything had been choreographed.

Judith rose from the bed and positioned herself, bending over the footboard, head on the soft mattress, her behind on full view atop the duvet-covered smooth carved wood. She stretched her arms out before her -- Superman in flight -- and waited. Dr. Moses sloped himself onto Judith, covering her body with his like a shadow, as if they were tandem parachutists; his arms along hers, their legs aligned, his belly at the small of her back, his erection wedged between her buttocks like a kosher frank in a toasted bun. They remained in this position long enough to sync heartbeats and then Dr. Moses gently broke the seal, separating from Judith and standing up. He massaged her from feet to head, no inch ignored, oil emanating evenly from his fingers, until he met her nail-bitten hands. She could feel the thin unctuous coating encasing her.

Dr. Moses concentrated on Judith's ripe tuchis, playing with it, giving a surprise spank or two which caused her to lift both feet slightly in reaction; the oil made the slaps echo off the walls. His hands, one on each buttock, rotated clockwise, tapping and striking, as if thumping bongo drums, accelerating in speed and pressure. She could feel her ass heating up, almost smell the oil burning. Dr. Moses was dribbling oil from his cock, a sizable one -- a healthy young tree. He greased himself with the elixir seeping from his body parts, becoming harder with each slick application. He leaned into Judith so she could feel his massive lubricated excitement. A finger entered her backside, moving teasingly to and fro. Another joined it, then a third, for company. He was stretching her, preparing the operating theater. Actually, he had all the instruments he needed: a single very large one.

Judith felt a hard yet soft warm prod at her tight but at-ease portal. She tiptoed, inclining, and set her ready opening onto the oily snake head, reaching back in assistance to spread herself wider while the good doctor did his part, guiding it steadily in, past the clinching sphincter -- Judith grimacing for an instant but giving no resistance -- and unhurriedly immersed himself until his entire tree was absorbed, leaving only its base of gnarly curly roots. Dr. Moses filled Judith wall-to-wall, his prick holding her immobile like a skewer. The tushie doctor started leisurely, gliding in and out of her round ass; advancing and withdrawing, quietly and fastidiously. Judith sank her upper body deeper onto the bed with each ardent stab, welcoming the doctor's tool. She could feel him throbbing profoundly near some internal organ. It would be many years before a colonoscopy would be medically advised but Dr. Moses was providing a most favorable sneak preview. His pace quickened, driving into Judith more vigorously. She shuddered in delight, both of them reverberating. His furry thighs pounded against her shaven ones. Judith felt sweat and oil wicking from his muscular limbs.

The hot fluid trajectory shot into her suddenly -- as if a trigger had been pulled -- determinedly flushing through her interior. Dr. Moses howled, Judith at his heels, clenching her buttocks, squeezing his broad colonoscope inside her, not wanting to relinquish its pleasure. A few drops of oil reached her mouth.

Her next awareness was of lying in bed, face up, a light snowfall outside the windows, the duvet mashed into the space between mattress and footboard, her sky blue pajamas ordered -- top resting on bottoms -- with surgical precision.

The Eighth Night

The eighth and final night of Chanukah fell on the Sabbath as did the first so the menorah candles would be lit and then the two Shabbat candles, 18 minutes before sunset. At Beth Jehudah that evening they would be reading from the Book of Kings. Judith said the prayers and placed the last candles in the menorah, filling it, lighting them with the shamash. It was a modest yet beautiful rainbow of varicolored stalks, the twisted candles.

Judith sat for the eighth time with her frugal Chanukah meal, this night uncorking a special bottle of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux that she and Solomon were to have opened on their 5th wedding anniversary, which, by coincidence, fell on the last day of Chanukah this year. This date also happened to be Judith's 36th birthday, a lucky number in the Jewish religion: a multiple of 18, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters spelling the word chai, meaning "life"; furthermore, 36 was the total amount of candles lit during Chanukah's eight days, excluding the shamash helpers. Solomon had purchased the wine shortly after their marriage: a $500 bottle = $100 per year. Drinking the rich burgundy-colored liquid without Solomon across the table to share the experience was bittersweet but she consoled herself by replaying the past week's dreams in her head until she felt warm between the legs. Feeling sexual gave Judith hope, even if her half-full glass was not exactly based in reality.

She picked up the small wooden dreidel, examining the toy. There were still marks on it, in crayon and pencil, from being kept in a shoebox with her other childhood memorabilia. Some of the paint had worn off the four sides, each imprinted with a colored Hebrew letter: Nun, Gimel, Hey, Shin; an acronym for the Hebrew phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham! -- A great miracle happened there! -- referring to the holiday's premise: a lamp burning oil for an extraordinary eight days. The blue Nun was mostly intact, as was the red Gimel, but the green Hey and purple Shin had seen better Chanukahs. Judith spun the dreidel once. It fell with the Shin face up. Wood was the traditional 5th year wedding anniversary gift; was Solomon giving her a signal?

She drank the wine, holding each mouthful until it warmed her cheeks, then swallowed. She stared at the illuminated candles, entering her usual trancelike state. The wax verticals did not appear to be changing in stature. Normally they would reach bottom in half an hour. At first Judith thought it was the wine affecting her vision, but she continued to drink -- she was commemorating something after all, though she was not sure what, exactly -- and watched as the candles remained aflame at full height. Two hours and an entire bottle of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux later, the Shabbat candles long burned out, Judith felt the call of her bed.

Even though it was forbidden to blow out candles on the Sabbath, Judith could not leave a lit menorah unattended for risk of fire, and there was no available Gentile to call for the task as most of her known neighbors were Jewish. She blew on the spiraling flames. They did not die. She put the empty dishes, wineglass, drained bottle, cork, silverware, linen napkin, napkin ring and placemat on a silver tray, adding the blazing menorah, and transferred the lot into the kitchen. She wrote the date on the cork's top with a black Sharpie marker and placed it on the granite-countered service island, sideways, looking a little bit like a dreidel itself. Once she put everything away she held the menorah under running water to quench the nine golden flickers. It was the only method to extinguish the fire. Nothing. Judith saw that she had a set of trick candles on her hands, like those she had bought as a girl at Al Flosso's Magic Shop on West 34th Street.

She took the burning-but-not-wax-dripping menorah into the bathroom and set it on the galvanized aluminum vanity stool. She filled the tub with very warm water. Tonight it would be a bubble bath -- Mr. Bubble. It was the only time she got to have a man in her bathtub, she realized sadly. The old television commercials' slogans ran through her head: There's a man in the bathtub!... Makes getting clean almost as fun as getting dirty! Not exactly, she thought. Getting dirty was what it was all about.

Judith surrendered her naked body into the arms of Mr. Bubble -- the menorah producing additional heat in the closed porcelain-tiled room -- wondering who would visit her tonight in bed. She had gone through the latest players, the entire cast of characters. Who was left? What did the spirit lover have in store for her, on this final evening of their exchange?

She drained the tub, watched Mr. Bubble make his swirling exit and put on her pajamas, red this last Chanukah night. These had been Solomon's favorite pair; he looked absolutely regal when wearing them. Judith transported the misbehaving lit menorah into the bedroom and planted it on the curtainless windowsill, safely centered. As she set the object down she realized that the candles filling the holders replicated the colors of Solomon's entire pajama inventory: the azure blue shamash and the other eight -- forest green, lavender, turquoise, pale spring green, yellow, purple, sky blue and red. She crawled into bed with great suspense, eager to discover who would climb into her dreams and into her body tonight.

Judith waited for the spirit but he did not come. She watched the menorah, its reflection in the window glass combining with the actual item it mirrored to present an illusion of 18 flames, all of them stalwart and unyielding. Judith got out of bed and approached the other bedroom window, also facing Central Park. She could see across to Fifth Avenue where some of her Jewish brethren on the East Side had placed electric menorahs in their windows, to be left on all night -- dozens of lit blue bulbs: penis-head beacons in even rows spanning the buildings -- dotted-line grids; penthouses to lobbies -- as far as she could see, from Uptown to Downtown.

She returned to bed and focused on the flames, her mind making pictures out of their distorting shapes as a child sees creatures in wallpaper at night. After a while, one flame would suddenly engorge, popping over the remaining candles like a comic book talk balloon, then resume its normal size. This occurred several times. Judith rubbed her eyes, not sure of what she was witnessing. Then, another round of expanding flares, but this instance Judith could see something beyond the orange blazes. Within the enlarged fan of fire was a face, a familiar but long-ago memory. She saw Noah, the first boy who had ever kissed her in a manner quite different from her parents and relatives. Noah had a tongue which he put into Judith's mouth. This momentous occasion had taken place in broad afternoon light on a Thursday, in the Hebrew High School lounge at Temple Emanu-El. Even at fifteen Noah exhibited symptoms of male pattern baldness. And his kiss seemed to be that of a mature man as well, not that Judith had any way of comparing. There he was, framed by smolder and fire, smiling, not moving -- a yearbook picture rippling like a windstruck flag, eternally preserved in time. All they had shared was a kiss and a carpool ride, and maybe a slice of pound cake after services one Oneg Shabbat. What would have happened had Judith followed Noah into the light of life? Where was he now? Did he have any hair left? Were his kisses still vertiginous? Before she could probe these thoughts with more intricacy Noah dematerialized.

Another candle erupted into a burning canvas, and at its center -- like a portrait in a gigantic locket -- was Gabriel, a leader of the Jewish Leadership Camp Counselor-Training Program in which Judith had enrolled the summer before college -- two months on a secluded verdant campus in the Berkshires. Although social interaction between staff and participants was not exactly encouraged, the few years of age difference separating the two factions made such liaisons virtually impossible to avoid, and so it had been with Judith and Gabriel. They held hands while watching movies in the mosquito-ridden dark before the large screen set up on the main field, sat next to each other at mealtimes and took hikes together several Sundays in a row, finding themselves alone, far from the campus -- atop a mountain or on cool flat rocks beside a stream. Like Noah, Gabriel also had a tongue, and he put it in Judith's mouth as well. Being college-age he knew a few more tricks -- tongue twisters, he called them -- and Judith had no problem tugging down her blue jean shorts and polka-dotted underpants to allow Gabriel demonstrate a thing or two between her suntanned thighs. Gabriel showed Judith his warm hard penis and let her touch it. One day, amidst a meadow, surrounded by wildflowers, his face was between Judith's legs and her hand was clasped around his penis, stroking it. They both felt very good, and, as the gong rang for dinner from the distant mess hall, Gabriel's penis imitated a volcano from within Judith's flushed fist while he caused her to flood in a way very different than her menstrual period but from the same aperture. Where was Gabriel today? Where was his Vesuvian penis? Though he attended Harvard and she would enter Brown that autumn, their paths never crossed, despite being only an hour apart by Amtrak. Gabriel's face dissipated and the flame went back to its predictable dimensions.

For the third time there was a fiery burst, yet another old flame: Hillel, corkscrew-haired and bespectacled, an upper-classman whom she'd met while sitting on a bench in the Brown Quad during orientation week. Hillel was pre-Med with little time to spare. But whenever he had a moment for recreation Judith was always a willing playmate. She'd experimented more with Hillel than she had with Noah or Gabriel. And, she was advancing with a penis, now taking it into her mouth and seeing what she could make it do. Judith found she could make it do one thing consistently and well, and this made Hillel a very content fellow. She didn't like the idea of a tense doctor-in-training so viewed her moments with him as examples of proper bedside manner and her personal contribution to science. The Nobel Prize it surely was not but Judith was happy to give someone pleasure and receive it at the same time, Hillel caressing the parts of her he could reach while she was in the middle of these oral examinations. Hillel never seemed to want more. Perhaps he could sense that Judith was not yet ready to venture further physically. Maybe intuition told him he did not have the time to devote to her in the way that a deeper relationship required. Their friendship gradually but amicably tempered and they spent fewer hours together in Providence as they delved into their respective studies. Judith made Phi Beta Kappa, graduated, thought of but ultimately decided against law school, and moved to New York City where she got a job in publishing. Hillel went on to medical school. Judith imagined he would eventually head the cardiology department at some important urban hospital. He had such nice long and dexterous fingers.

"Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." "Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." "Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." Judith repeated their names to herself like a mantra, unaware that she was talking out loud. "Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." "Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." "Noah, Gabriel, Hillel." In the middle of her spoken reverie, the names morphed into Hebrew words: Nes Gadol Hayah..., Nes Gadol Hayah..., Nes Gadol Hayah... Judith bolted upright as if shoved by a gigantic hand. She knew what would come next: a Shin was needed to finish the Chanukah dreidel acronym!

Nes Gadol Hayah Sham -- A great miracle happened there!

Judith knelt on the bed, practically floating. A Sham was coming: there!; a Shin was about to arrive!

She looked at the burning menorah, tears running down her face from each eye like twin ropes unfurled.

"Solomon!" she cried.

The menorah candles were afire, ablaze, with an abrupt ferocity. A shifting form sprang from the flames and meandered as a wispy six-foot trail towards the bed, smelling like sulfur, smoke, wax, burned onions and cream cheese. As the figure hovered over Judith it crystallized into sharpness as if a camera lens had been swiveled. There he was, naked, radiating heat and very much alive: Solomon.

He dropped on top of her immediately -- an electric blanket -- and they held each other in a lock. Judith didn't know if it was real or a dream; Solomon didn't know if he was alive or dead. But these were merely technicalities. His cock was just as Judith remembered: wildly livid and alert, its eye smiling -- weeping slightly. He put his mouth upon hers.

Solomon's kiss tasted like smoked salmon, likely the last thing he'd eaten, a sample sliver from Zabar's fish counter, presented to him on a piece of waxed paper by a freckled hand. But Judith didn't mind. She was hungry in every way.

Their tongues met, ladling breath and juice into one another, both of them panting, gasping for air. Solomon hadn't used his lungs in a few years; respiration no longer came easily. He ripped his pajama top from Judith's body; six mother-of-pearl buttons ricocheting around the room -- small fast-moving planets orbiting within a galaxy on full-tilt. The garment rose in the air like a red flag and settled somewhere on the floor. He loosened the cord on his old new dead stock pajama bottoms and yanked them from his widow, setting them aloft where they lingered for a few moments, disembodied, before fluttering to the carpet.

His head landed between Judith's legs, nose inhaling her fragrance, tongue drinking the nectar from her well. Judith's knees were up, flanking Solomon's shoulders in a vice. She caressed him wherever she could -- his hair, his ears, his neck, his upper back, his nipples, his arms. They kissed once more, Judith tasting herself on her dead husband's lips. This increased their ardor and they melded into each other again, devouring what they could, like starving dogs drawing meat from a tossed bone. Judith reached down for Solomon's luscious grinning penis, her long-lost friend. She stroked and pulled at it, making the eye shed more tears. She switched angles and took him into her mouth where she sucked and licked and then, releasing her wet grasp, fondled him, holding his balls like precious eggs, taking them one by one within her lips.

They moaned together, they yelped together, they cried together. New York City disappeared, the room's walls fell away like a collapsing stage set. The bed remained -- a floating barge, a desert island upon which desperate castaways were making the most of their limited rations. Solomon put his palms on Judith's small breasts, rubbing circularly until her nipples inflated. He pulled her towards himself, clutching the flesh of her buttocks. He took her hands into his, tightly, and pushed her back onto the bed, his body on top, stretching all four arms out above their heads, his feet over hers, tracing her insteps with his toes.

Solomon whispered words into Judith's ear, words of love, things she hadn't heard since that last Sunday before he left for Zabar's. He reminded her that making love on the Sabbath was a mitzvah, as if she needed any convincing. She held her breath as he eased his hardness into her. She let out a cry when he was all the way inside. He fit her like a glove, one she'd lost several years ago, never expecting to find again. Solomon rocked gently at first, still holding Judith's hands, teasing and kindling her with his syllables.

They made love for hours, Judith wailing, Solomon calming her with a twist of the hips, making her come over and over and over. A menorah was not to be used for any other purpose, such as illumination, but it was unintended: the two bodies on the bed -- entwined like braids of Shabbat challah bread or the twisted candles in the blue cardboard box -- were cloaked in an orange-blue light, emulating the fervor generated on the mattress.

Solomon held himself back from ejaculating. Maybe once you cross to the other side that ability is lost, thought Judith. Yet he was hard, and remained so, giving her one ride after another. He swung himself into her in every way possible according to the laws of physics and, sometimes, with postures defying those rules. Judith could not speak; her body was just the recipient of pure bliss and love, delivered by an untiring passionate messenger. They stared eye-to-eye, unblinking, as Judith had gazed at the burning menorah -- two brown eyes looking into a twin pair. Judith's body reddened as the joyous pleasure she was being given took over. She yielded to it, watching Solomon as he kept on like a marathoner, hurtling against her perspiring flesh. Then he let himself go, loudly. Judith felt a warm surge unleash within her from Solomon's prick. She tingled, then shivered, teeth chattering. Solomon gave her a long kiss and Judith knew that he must be going.

"Don't leave me again," she pleaded.

"I shall live inside you," he said quietly, "and then near you and over you, forever."

There were tears in his dark eyes. He gave Judith a slow-motion sweeping caress. And with that final touch Solomon levitated from his widow's body -- a fiery light -- and soared through the closed casement into the December chill, permeating the glass panes like a laser. Judith watched his form grow smaller as it flew over the naked wooden postures of the leafless trees -- a flame slowly extinguishing over Central Park, twinkling like a dying star.

In the morning Judith's red pajamas were laid out flat like paper doll clothing on Solomon's side of the bed, facing up, his preferred sleeping position; the right shirtsleeve was angled towards her, as if it wanted to hold her hand. Both Judith and the empty nightwear were beneath the warm duvet. She felt liquid between her thighs and put a finger there to investigate. It was semen, not olive oil, and it tasted just like Solomon. She noticed a damp white patch on the indigo sheets and a few distinctly masculine pubic hairs. She looked to the menorah on the windowsill. The candles were burned down. She put on her pajamas, robe and slipper socks and left the bedroom, drawn to the living room by an unusual temperature. There, in the fireplace, was a full pile of wood, completely ablaze. Yesterday, the slate-lined space had been empty. Although there was no formal ritual to mark Chanukah's end, Judith sat on the green velvet chair by the fire, not taking her eyes off the flames until they burned out at dusk and Chanukah was officially over. Her own personal logwatch seemed as perfect as any ceremony.

Within the month, Judith, age 36, would find out she was carrying Solomon's child.

Nes Gadol Hayah Sham!

A great miracle happened there, on Central Park West, in the San Remo, on the 18th floor.

THE END

Copyright 2008 EllaRegina. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without prior written permission from the author.


12 comments:

Janine Ashbless said...

Wonderful!

EllaRegina said...

Thank you, Janine!

Craig Sorensen said...

Wow!

That is absolutely beautiful, EllaRegina. I lost track of time reading it, found myself luxuriating over the scenes.

Truly beautiful.

EllaRegina said...

Why, thank you, Craig!

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Kirsten Monroe said...

EllaRegina,

I just love the way you write. Your words are like warm wax and flickering flames.

Thank you for sharing!

--KM

EllaRegina said...

Wow, Kirsten! Thank you!

And thank you all for reading. It's a long piece.

Donna said...

Truly, this is such a feast of a story. The wine, the airy latkes, the delicious and evocative scenes of lovemaking, the modern miracle. I was actually teary at the end!

What a nice holiday gift of luscious prose for your readers, ER. Thank you!

Heidi Champa said...

Just finished. Amazing!! Love your style. Like Craig said, you just get lost in every scene.

EllaRegina said...

Thank you so much, Heidi!

EllaRegina said...

Hey, Donna!

I thought you might like the food but I didn't want to make you cry!

(But thank you for your nice words.)

:-)

Jeremy Edwards said...

So much beauty, imagination, emotion, wit, and magic here! And transcendently glorious sex!! And slipper socks! I love the candle-like intertwining of past and present, real and fantastic. I adore all the patterns and variations. And I applaud your ability to immerse us so completely in your protagonist's most intimate dreams.

EllaRegina said...

Wow, Jeremy, I'm truly speechless! Thank you!