Twenty four year old Leora camps out in the bathroom of another 5-star, Parkside hotel. Her panties and stockings are crumpled in a heap atop black pumps. She pulls her off-fifth dress above her hips so as not to disturb the pristine porcelain. She has anxiously dehydrated herself making this trip futile.
If anything, it’s a moment for Leora to collect her thoughts. To process the first forty five minutes of this disastrous date. Analyze every nook and cranny of the loser of a man currently nursing a seltzer, waiting for her to reappear from the bowels of luxury. She squints to picture his face, homing in for seeming qualities: kind eyes? well-trimmed beard? a hint of a jawline? 0 for 3. Leora has already tossed away his personality as useless. There will be no second date. The matchmaker will be furious; Leora’s mother even more so.
The loser walks Leora to the subway. She can sense the sweat pooling up into yellow pit-stains beneath his single-pleat jacket. There’s a reason he’s agreed to go out with an old maid like her. There’s always a reason. The loser insists it’s too dangerous for a girl like Leora to ride alone at this hour. It’s theoretically the first sensitive remark he’s made all night. Leora finds it patronizing and gross.
Leora rides the subway alone. It’s only eight stops from Columbus Circle to her apartment. No rapists accost her. It’s still early for the Upper West. Leora’s roommates are out, far away from hotel lobbies. She sees no need to wait up for them. Between the holidays there’s been little time for icebreaking. She showers, brushes her teeth and curls up into bed with an episode of Friends she’s watched seven times. She ignores texts from her mother and the *shadchan* asking about the date. They’ll know not to think she’s been kidnapped. Leora rarely answers.
At 3 AM Leora startles awake. Her roommate Abby stumbles into the room, babbling incoherently. Abby is drunk. The two have exchanged little more than pleasantries. Leora thinks Abby’s got the wrong room. She fights the urge to slap Abby in the face.
“You okay?” Leora whispers.
“Those fuckers,” Abby mutters, barreling straight for Leora’s twin bed. Leora squeezes against the wall and out of the way. The drunk girl crumples onto Leora’s bed with surprising grace. She stinks of gin. Leora barely makes out the mock corduroy of Abby’s rust brown overall dress in the dim light. It hugs Abby’s figure just the way guys love. Leora could never wear it on a *shidduch* date.
“Hey, are you okay?” Leora says a little louder, shaking Abby lightly.
“Yeah, fine.” Abby shrugs Leora off, finding nothing unusual about the present situation. Abby is twenty six. She wears pants. Eats dairy out. Occasionally hits the club instead of synagogue on Friday nights. Leora fears two more years as an UWS single and she’ll end up the same. Then her mother will really explode.
Abby cuddles up against Leora. Leora tries to eke out some separation, squeezing further against the wall.
“Don’t be shy,” Abby teases and burrows in. There’s no escape. Leora sighs and relaxes her body, filling out against Abby’s side. The human contact is nice. Leora’s dates are sterile and touch-free, just as God commanded. They lie together in silence, bonding over frustrations unspoken. Each knows that tonight the other is a bit more broken. Neither dares ask for details.
Leora fights the urge to drift off to sleep. She’s comfortable, less anxious in Abby’s presence. Her eyelids droop. It would be a nice sleep. But then what would she miss?
Abby answers by lifting her overall’s skirt, as her hand goes directly for her own crotch. Leora can’t help but glance at Abby’s underwear. In the darkness it’s just a shape. Leora imagines something red and satin. It’s an exciting thought. Abby doesn’t acknowledge Leora’s peering. She shamelessly begins to rub tight circles. The material rustles. It’s not satin.
Abby speeds up. Leora realizes what is happening. She should stop this, but she doesn’t. Abby starts to groan softly. She finds Leora’s thigh with her free hand and squeezes the pajama-pant covered leg. Leora should swat Abby away, but she doesn’t. Leora cranes her neck closer to the scene of the crime. Abby’s rustling grows louder. The strange sound fills Leora’s thoughts. Never mind this stranger masturbating in her bed, what is Abby wearing?
Leora’s back is nearly horizontal. She can almost smell Abby’s juices. The older girl is in some far off nirvana. Her eyes are closed. She works her pussy like clockwork, squeezes Leora’s thigh, obliviously the target of inspection. Squinting, Leora makes out the printed, papery contours of Abby’s undergarment.
It’s been a few years since Leora has seen a Goodnite. She’s finally kicked that habit. It’s strange to see an object of shame as an accessory to sexual passion. But Abby moves with such determination her choice of underwear can’t be an accident. Leora finds the trauma intoxicating as if someone is burning a candle in her insides.
Abby’s pull-up appears dry. At least from urine. Leora feels the urge to touch it, to clamp down on Abby’s hand as she reaches euphoria. But Leora can only watch as Abby explodes with a violent moan, her whole body shaking. Leora’s never seen anyone cum before. She’s never been with anyone, male or female. She’s never watched porn. She’s thought about masturbating, but never quite figured out how.
Abby’s snoring. Leora is wide awake. She wants to talk about what she just witnessed, but with who? She climbs over Abby onto the floor and turns on her phone flashlight, careful to avoid Abby’s face. She puts on a plain, black pencil skirt and a light blue sweater.
The late October chill is refreshing. Gone are the endless throngs of irate people and honking cars that shuffle up and down Amsterdam Ave by day. The hustle and bustle of New York’s night life is only blocks away, but here it’s quiet. A couple of construction workers smoke cigarettes on a street corner. An insomniac walks her dog. No one acknowledges Leora. She doesn’t say hi back. She passes the kosher restaurants, each the sight of another bad date.
Leora sympathizes with the sky edging toward twilight. She doesn’t fit with the *machmir* crowd who frequent the darkness of the hotel lobbies, nor the crowd who have “seen the light” of modernity. She’s not interested in a rigid set of rules with no purpose, nor the chameleon existence which pretends to conform when convenient. The night’s odd events answer none of her theological questions. She walks around until dawn, at which point she’ll gently wake Abby up and coax her back to her own room. Leora doesn’t plan any further discussions. She decides Abby blacked out and won’t remember.
Leora strides along through Central Park. It’s mid-November and the weather requires layers. A fall or winter walking date means the outfit is all in the coat. Leora’s Canada Goose is the pride of her collection. It’s stylish, but not form fitting enough to cause a scandal. Not that the *schlub* she’s walking with would notice. He’d probably think Canada Goose was an animal. He’s droning on about some coding competition he won. He’s working on a killer app that will change the world. He might make millions. Leora only cares what he’d think if he knew about her sexy encounter.
She doesn’t have the guts to blurt out, “What’s your stance on masturbation?” This guy probably jerks off every night. He would never touch her with a ten foot pole if God forbid she had a sexual thought. Talking *tachlis* does not include sexual compatibility. There’s no *hashkafic* discussion of kinks and fetishes. Leora’s only recently learned those terms. She thinks Abby might have a diaper fetish. She is working up the courage to ask.
It’s an unseasonably warm Thursday evening. Leora has bowed out of Shakespeare in the park. She thinks she might be getting sick. In reality, Leora needs an excuse to do some snooping. She knows there must be a *halachic* issue with spying on her roommates but she doesn’t know what it would be. It’s like the fake meat they’re growing in the adjacent lab. It should be *treif*, Leora just doesn’t know why.
Leora enters Abby’s room with trepidation. She starts with the dresses hanging in the closet, expecting few surprises. Leora helped Abby switch over her wardrobe last week. They’d been becoming better friends, having dinner together a few nights, a movie night or two, late night chats. There’s been no mention of the incident. Leora is half convinced it was a strange dream. here’s a suspicious mound of shoeboxes on the closet floor. Upon closer inspection, they contain only shoes. Too many shoes, but certainly no diapers.
Abby’s dresser is a little spicier. There’s a whole drawer dedicated to lingerie. It’s a tangled mess of straps and hooks and lace. Almost everything is black. There’s no way Abby can keep track of all this stuff. She wouldn’t mind if something small went missing for a few days. Leora wonders if it’s more or less *asur* to steal something so un*tznius* no one should own it. She has no time for talmudic discourse. She swipes something sheer and small. It’s a crotchless, open-cup Teddy. Leora will find this out later.
Only half-satisfied, she picks through every last hiding space. Underneath some notebooks in a night table is a vibrator. Leora’s never seen one in person. She assumes they’re like razors and must not be shared, otherwise she would certainly have a go. It seems Abby doesn’t have a diaper fetish. Or at least doesn’t own any diapers. The Goodnite must have been an anomaly. While the lingerie is hardly any consolation, Leora is still excited to try it on.
It’s only 8:30. Leora tiptoes out of Abby’s room. There’s no reason for anyone to be home. Still, she treads carefully, hiding the stolen goods behind her back. Fully committed to the long hallway that takes up most of their apartment, she makes a dash for the safety of her room. Leora sheds her clothing, save for her matching white floral bra and panty set. She couldn’t wear Abby’s clothing fully naked.
The scant cloth is shocking. Leora can’t imagine her boobs poking out of the holes in the sheer fabric. Not that the “covered” parts do much covering. She thinks the missing crotch is a neat trick. It certainly makes for easier access. She assumes people don’t normally wear panties under this thing. Her panties seem out of place. She’s temped to push the gusset aside. Expose her ripe pussy to the cold, winter air. What would she do then? Would she stick her fingers inside like a tampon? Maybe push them in and out. Would that feel good?
Leora has a wild thought. May she could she wear a Goodnite with this crotchless bodysuit thing. She could rub the Goodnite into her pussy like Abby. She was sure her Mom kept a package or two hidden away, “just in case.” Leora’s Mom always feared the bedwetting would return with a vengeance. Like body hair trimmed too early. Leora’s so far down the rabbit hole, she doesn’t hear the crack of lightning outside or the unexpected rain pouring down in buckets.
To be continued…