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Erev Yom Kippur

          I haven’t seen Matt in a while.  He doesn’t have a phone.  Rob and I want to hang out with him.  We leave my apartment and cross the street.  The door is open.  We walk in.  Music is coming from the kitchen in the back..

          “Meaty!” I call.  Rob yodels.  

          We walk through the apartment to the kitchen and you are there.  My feet freeze and I feel Rob stiffen, look at me, look at you.  

          My mouth opens to speak but I don’t know what to say.  

          “Hey guys,” Matt says lightly.

          “Yooo,” Rob drawls, pulling the word all the way out of his very long body.

          I say nothing.  I am staring at you and you at me and I feel almost angry.  

          Your eyes are wide and looking right into me and you look wounded.  A slowly healing scab has just bumped into the table corner.  Your lips smile at me though.  A small crescent of moon.  

          Your eyes don’t leave mine.  I glance away once because I’m uncomfortable but they snap back to you.  

          “Hi,” you say.  I nod, slowly.  

          “Hi.” We still hold eyes.  

          “She’s helping me clean my apartment,” Matt says sheepishly.

          “I was walking by and stopped in,” you say “and the place was such a mess…” you laugh and roll your eyes in mock disapproval towards Matt, but they come back to me. 

          “Hi Rob,” you say.

          “Are you going to services tomorrow?” I ask.

          “I don’t think so,” you shake your head, “but I’m not working.”

           I stand, nodding.  No one says anything.  You just look at me.  I feel I should leave, but then you say,

          “Are you?”

          I stop nodding, surprised and released.  

          “I don’t know.  I’m not going to class though and I’d like to fast.”

          You hold my gaze.  Your green eyes always so open are clouded in thought.  I miss those thoughts.  

Your eyes drop to your feet then come back to me.

          “Do you want to meet in the woods?”  Your voice sounds almost shaky, as if you’re unsure this is right but you deep down know it is so you summoned the courage to ask.  My mouth is slightly open and I am staring at you.  

          “Yeah,” I say.  “Yeah, I would really like that.”  If I had a tail it would be wagging.  

          You step across the kitchen threshold to the next room where I’ve been standing.  Rob and Matt have drifted to the back of the kitchen.  

          You step towards me.  We are arms distance apart.  You fill my nose.  You smell of tinctures and incense and you.  You look in my eyes and I feel small and I know how wise you are.  

          I remember you told me once that every Yom Kippur your father calls you and apologizes for anything he may have done that year to hurt you.  

          “I’m sorry for anything,” I shake my head, “everything that I’ve done this year.”  

          You nod.  

          “Thank you,” you say but it feels like “I know.”

          I reach my hand out and lay it on your shoulder, lightly, unsure if this is okay but so badly wanting to touch you.  

          You step towards me and wrap my waist in your hug.  I clasp my hands behind your back.  I close my eyes and inhale and feel myself expand in your arms.  I exhale and shrink but your hug stays tight.  

You’re so soft.  I’m always surprised by how soft you are.  Every time we hug your softness is a brand new experience.  

          “And I’m sorry for everything I’ve done this year,” you say.  

          A laugh leaps from my throat.  Then I laugh again and you laugh and we are both laughing.  Something melts off of my shoulders, relaxes inside my stomach.  

          “Okay,” I say, as our hug releases.  Our four hands are two fists.  “See you tomorrow.”

          Your lips are closed in your crooked half grin.  I turn to go and I feel your eyes smiling at my back as I float out of the apartment.  

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