Risa Horowitz


Very Short Stories

The Scarf

My Hassidic cousin came on to me. What should be understood is that this sort of thing just doesn't happen in those circles. Or maybe it does, and this was my first insight. The slightest touch is inappropriate, never mind an outright flirtation. But there it was. His hands grasping either end of my chiffon scarf, wrapped once around my neck, tightened by the resistance, lingering eye contact, plain as day: a come on. This is the same husband-of-my-cousin who made sure my bubie's amputated leg bits got the proper Jewish burial. He's the go-to guy for ritual in the family. Admittedly, he's grown much more handsome with age. He left me in a fix. I thought of Sol Bellow's Jewish erotica. I wondered what goes on with these men, while their wives, bodies fallen and broken from spitting out and running after half a dozen children, are bound happily at home. When I asked him to release his grasp he told me that back in the day, a Jewish king could take as many as 18 wives. I said, "are you a king?" He let go only when his wife demanded his attention. He left me in a fix.

Updated August 2022 | Acknowledgements | Copyright ©1998-2022 Risa Horowitz