CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.
This is the kind of thing she writes that her mother tells her must never be written. Her mother warns her that, once you say it, you cannot unsay it.
She’s never quite sure if her mother speaks from her own experience or that of one wayward younger sister, the one who is always getting usurped by her older sister’s righteousnesses. She only knows that, even from the grave, her mother is still speaking. And, she is still hearing. And, still, she is not heeding. Against all her better graces anyway, she proceeds. She writes.
She is neither totally unconscious, nor without conscience. She just knows that Jewish boys are different from her. She gets that their life style choices never quite match those of even the most devout Gentile. Traditions are their life blood; life decisions, therefore, are made according to them. And, so it is that, in both the face and wake of cultural shifts happening even at their elbows, they retain the ability to keep promises. Even for their own sake. Promises are part of their character.
And, character is what drives their identity. And, their identity is Jewish. And, so it goes.
She almost wishes that she could make public even some small claim on their heritage. Lost tribes, and all that. She could swear: even the Mormons at Ancestry.com concede 5 % unknown DNA in every sample. She’d take Ashkenazy; it feels like a fit.
She could never have told them then or now that the Judao-Christians, so small in number, really did adopt many of their sacred values. She could have hardly said that, though the jargon was different, the attitudes were indistinguishable: faith; commitment; loyalty; and, finally, faithfulness – the fulfilling of faith, through commitment to the promise.
But, beyond the commonalities, the Jewish boy had brought traits that craved fulfillment in her. Inquiry. Contemplative thought. A capacity to embody paradox. Intellectual freedom. A spiritual recognition of what is human, and an acceptance thereof.
Now, sitting in the Temple social hall, even at his father’s wake, she feels it. So close, yet so far. He is standing there, seven feet away, forty years hence. Non-locality has nothing on this kind of power.
Coupled with a scant, yet singular memory that embedded her own emerging identity, she realizes that this boy, all those years ago, had managed to brand her. With one, simple gesture of gratitude for an act of her own toward him, he had burned the standard of his character into her skin. And, she still bears that mark, like a tattoo on her heart.
It is with all this vibrating through her being like some trans-dimensional electronic signal that she broaches what her mother has forbidden. She feels ready to throw wide the doors. She could burst with the boldness of it all. After all, she’s written this much, already.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 8/4/16 All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect.