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Over Facebook Messenger, I asked her if she wanted to upgrade it a date, a move befitting men much smoother than me. We sat on benches in the frigid evening and I tried to make it clear that it wasn’t her.
She smiled when we met outside the Brooklyn house where the klezmer concert took place. Later, she leaned over and put her head on my shoulders. It was problematic enough that I was kissing her, but this seemed beyond the pale. After we went up for air a few times, my train came and saved me from my thoughts. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had done, about what it meant. I was comfortable then, sitting in oversized seats, drinking coffee at a café with board games. We left as men and women sang “Deportees.” As we walked back to the train and she held onto my scratchy tweed-clad arm, I felt a heaviness in my bag.
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Would I hurt her feelings by ending the embrace mid-moment? She then invited me to a café near her place in Astoria for a folk-music singalong. Growing up, I sang the traditional Hebrew and Yiddish songs every Shabbat, but also folks songs and tunes by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Phil Ochs, a merging of the secular world and the religious one. For three hours, we didn’t say much, just listened to the music, enjoyed being with each other.
We met a few times at different Jewish social things, from a Hanukkah-themed open mic at a local bar to eating bagels with her friend, my sister. As I’d learned from my on-screen heroes, this was the time to kiss her, only the second kiss of my life. As I walked to the train with her on my left arm and the holy book in my right, I felt pulled in opposite directions.She kissed me one last time on the cheek, with permission. As I transferred to another train at Times Square and rode an escalator up, I saw another couple on the escalator going down, making out. But every time her name pops up on my Facebook wall, my heart skips a beat.For a second, I re-calculate the mental math, trying to make it work.We still hang out, not infrequently, enough though it hurts: At friends’ parties, at protests, at all sorts of Jew-ish, but not Jewish, events. We could have been that couple I saw at the subway station that night, kissing happily, with nothing to separate them from each other.Click here for access to comments COMMENTING CHARGES Daily rate: Monthly rate: Yearly rate: 0 WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?