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As He Loved His Own Soul (Past and to Come 4/10) - Mo's Journal
January 11th, 2007
07:25 am

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As He Loved His Own Soul (Past and to Come 4/10)
They’d been going at it for close to three hours. Jean-Paul lay back on the bed, breathing hard. “No more!” he said.

“Wimp!” his lover replied. “We’re just getting started.” Jean-Paul groaned. “Come on, when are we going to get another chance like this? Mom’s got Ezra, no interruptions.” Adam leaned over, stroking Jean-Paul’s cheek and kissing him on the mouth. “Please. Just a little more?”

“When you ask like that...” Jean-Paul sighed and said, “D’accord.” He got off of the bed and joined Adam, sitting on the floor of his old bedroom in his mother’s apartment in Brooklyn. There were two stacks of cardboard boxes by the wall. The “Throw Out” stack dwarfed the “Keep” one. “What’s left?” he asked.

“We did the whole closet, the dresser, the trunk.”

“You don’t need to tell me that. I was here for every excruciating minute. How did you manage to collect all that shit?”

“Comes from living in the same place from birth through college. But look at how good I am at getting rid of it all!” he said, gesturing to the larger stack of boxes. “I think we’re down to this,” he added, pulling a large rolling storage box out from under the bed.

“Bien. That doesn’t look too daunting.” Adam opened the box up and they started sorting through the contents. “I have an idea. Why don’t we finish this one and then you let me fuck you on your old bed? A whole new experience, hein?”

Adam shook his head. “You know I can’t do that.”

“High school graduation picture isn’t up anymore. It’s in that box, n’est-ce pas?” he added, pointing to the “Keep” pile. “And Miriam isn’t here.”

“What if she comes back unexpectedly?”

“She and Ezra are at the Bronx Zoo, mon coeur. Last I looked, it was in the Bronx.” Adam snorted. “Well, it may be a short drive there from Xavier’s, but it’s damn close to two hours on the subway from here. And you know Ezra’s not going to let her leave until he’s seen the okapis and the gorillas and the giraffes and the elephants and climbed up the big spider web.”

“And played in the climbing tree for an hour. I know. Okay, look. I realize this isn’t rational, but I’ve always been terrified of having sex here. I never even kept condoms in my room, lest my mother find them when she cleaned up. I always stored them in my book bag or had them in pockets.”

“And now you don’t even need them anymore. Fringe benefit of monogamy. Well, it is if you’re lucky enough to be negative.”

“Is that a dig?”

“No, not at all.” He leaned over and kissed Adam deeply, then looked into his eyes. “We’re lucky,” he said. “That’s all I meant. We’re lucky to be negative, lucky to be together again. We’re lucky to have a second chance, when so many people never get one. I want to make the most of that luck, bien sur.” He smiled. “In all ways. Not just by fucking your brains out on your old bed. Still, that would be a nice start.”

Adam laughed. “Let’s finish this box and then think about it.”

Jean-Paul dived in and came up with a black velvet zipper bag. He whistled when he pulled out its contents. “Whoa! This looks like fun,” he said, looking at the black leather straps around a small cube of matching leather.


“They’re not what you think.”

“Right. You wouldn’t keep condoms in your room lest Miriam find them, but you kept these? Tabernac! What would she have said if she found them?” He pulled out another just like the first. Holding the leather cube he added, “Where does this go?”

Adam shook his head. “I’m telling you, you’ve got it wrong. My mother knew all about them, didn’t like that I had them at all and they’re nothing to do with bondage. Or any kind of sex. They’re tefillin.”

“Tuh-quoi?”

Adam laughed. “Tefillin.” He repeated it slowly, pronouncing each syllable separately, “Tuh fill in. They’re religious articles. From my brief religious period in my teens.”

“Vraiment? This is some sort of religious thing?” Jean-Paul was unwrapping the straps from the cube and then experimentally wrapping them around his wrist.

“Hey that’s pretty close,” Adam laughed, looking at the tefillin on his lover’s arm. “And yes, it’s religious.” He tapped the leather box the straps were attached to. “There’s a scroll with torah verses in it. You know what mezuzot are, right?”

“The things on the door, hein?”

“Yeah, well this is sort of similar, only you wear them when praying.” He picked up one. “This one goes on your head, and the other on your arm.”

“And you wore these?” Jean-Paul sounded so skeptical that Adam laughed.

“So, we’re a strange tribe. We cut foreskins off of baby boys and wrap leather around our arms and heads.” He laughed again. “I only did it for about a year. My mother was appalled. She was worried that I was going too far with adolescent rebellion – rejecting her comfortable atheistic secular form of Judaism. I told myself it was about finding a spiritual path. But we were both wrong. It really was all about sex.”

“I knew it.”

“Well, I didn’t. Not at first, at least. I didn’t want to know. The whole raison d’etre for my ‘religious awakening’ was Yossi.”

“Yossi?”

“Yossi Grazalsky. I was madly in love – or at least in lust – with him.”

“And he was Orthodox?”

“Yup.”

“How did you know him?”

“We were in high school together. He was a senior when I was a sophomore. I sat down at the same table as him in the library one afternoon. I was just going to study, but my God! I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Dark curly hair, full mouth. Long lean body. Sort of a geeky nerdy Semitic version of a Greek god.” Jean-Paul laughed. “I struck up a conversation with him. We hit it off. Before I knew it, he was inviting me home for shabbos, then for whole weekends. Study groups at his shul, all sorts of stuff. Like I said, my mother was beside herself. Little did she know I was getting religion as an excuse to get into Yossi’s pants. Hey, I barely knew it myself.”

“Was he gay?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know there were Orthodox gay guys. He practically told me, but it didn’t register.”

“What did he say?”

“Oh he talked about how his parents had been against him going to Stuy. They wanted him in a yeshiva – a Jewish high school,” he added, in acknowledgment of Jean-Paul’s puzzled expression. “They were afraid of secular influences, he told me. Scantily clad adolescent girls in particular. ‘Not a problem’ he’d said when he told me that. I just thought he meant he was too spiritual to be tempted.” Jean-Paul laughed again. “I guess it is comical,” Adam continued. “I was young and dumb. I had no gay-dar yet, didn’t know he was trying to tell me something.”

“What did his parents think of your friendship?”

“They thought it was great. Here he was bringing me into the fold, you know? They felt sorry for me – poor fatherless boy. I think they figured if my father had been around I’d have been a ‘Torah Jew’. Little did they know – he was a bigger socialist than Mom. Really, if he’d been alive I don’t think I’d have had a religious education at all. Mom sent me to Hebrew School because she thought I should know what I was rejecting, but she had no doubts I’d reject it. And then Yossi came into the picture and suddenly she started thinking that maybe she’d made a mistake.

"Anyway, Yossi’s family was great to me. And it was fun – big family, big house, lots happening. A real contrast with this place,” looking around now, “with just Mom and me. Yaakov – the brother Yossi shared a room with – would move out when I was there and bunk with the little boys. Yossi and I would sleep side by side on their twin beds. I’d look at him, just aching to touch him. Torture, but sweet torture.”

Jean-Paul nodded in sympathy. “Did you ever tell him how you felt?”

Adam grinned. “He told me first.” He picked up the tefillin. “And actually, it happened because of these. Yossi was teaching me how to lay tefillin.”

“Lay tefiilin?”

“Yeah that’s what it’s called – how to put them on for prayer. You wrap this one – it’s called tefillin shel yad – around your arm, like this.” He demonstrated as he spoke. “I wasn’t getting it right. He tried showing me by putting his on, but I got confused. So he stood right behind me, reaching to help me wrap them.”

“Sounds... intimate, hein?”

“Indeed. He was hard as a rock, pressed against me. His arms around me. So I realized he wanted me, too.”

“So did Yossi and Adam ‘lay tefillin’ or did Yossi lay Adam?”

Adam laughed. “I turned around and I kissed him. I didn’t know what he’d do, but he kissed me back.”

“Was that... okay in his religion?”

“Not really, but he was great at rationalizing. He told me kissing was fine. Not that other people would understand – we certainly didn’t let on to his family or friends. But David and Jonathan kissed, so Yossi figured it was okay for us.”

“Who were they? Friends of his?”

Adam chuckled. “No! David and Jonathan in the bible. Do you really not know who they were?”

“Not a clue.”

“It’s in your bible, too.”

“I don’t have a bible.”

“How did you manage to go through all those years of Catholic school and never learn any bible stories?”

“Mostly by not listening.”

Adam chuckled again. “Well, you might like their story. Most modern scholars think they were lovers. Jonathan risked his life to save David, they’re seen kissing, and it says they loved each other and their love was greater than their love for women. Also Jonathan is so taken with David that he takes off all his clothes right in front of him and gives them to him, and Jonathan’s father complains that he’s making a fool of himself over David.”

“Sounds pretty conclusive to me.”

“Yeah, well the Orthodox think they were just friends. Most of them, anyway. So do fundie Christians. It’s amazing what people will talk themselves into believing! Yossi had other ideas.”

“Did you do more than kiss?”

“Oh yeah. Hand jobs, blow jobs.”

“David and Jonathan do that, too?”

“Who knows? I wasn’t asking questions. Or complaining, believe me. We did everything but fucking.”

“Why not fucking?”

“That’s ‘toevah’ – abomination. According to the Talmud that’s the great sin between men that’s punishable by death – anal sex. It didn’t bother me – I didn’t want to do it anyway.”

“That’s kind of hard to imagine!”

“I know,” he said, leaning over to kiss Jean-Paul. “One of my favorite pastimes now, but I’d never done it then and didn’t want to.”

“How old were you?”

“Fifteen. Had you been fucked by then?”

“Been fucked, fucked other guys. Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything I hadn’t done by fifteen.” He shrugged. “I was an early bloomer. I think what you did was pretty common – other kinds of sex but not fucking. Why didn’t you want to?”

“I thought it would hurt, mostly. And I don’t know – I liked what we were doing. I didn’t want to do something that Yossi was so sure was wrong. I didn’t think it was wrong – well, I don’t know what I thought. I was a confused teenager. I was pretty closeted and pretty mixed up about the whole gay thing anyway. So maybe not doing that gave me an out or something? I mean, just because I was sucking my boyfriend’s cock every chance I got, that didn’t mean I was gay, right?”

They both laughed. “So who was the first guy who fucked you?”

“Yossi.”

“Oui?”

“Yeah, he was obsessed with it. We couldn’t do it; we had to do it. It’s wrong; he needed it. He was driving me batty. I was perfectly happy with our sex life as it was. I didn’t need to commit a ‘capital crime’ to get off. But he couldn’t stop talking about it. So finally I just said, let’s do it. Kind of get it over with, see if we liked it. If we didn’t get struck by lightning or anything – well, maybe David and Jonathan liked to fuck, too.” Jean-Paul laughed. “So the next weekend I was spending at his house I brought condoms and lube. See? I was obsessively HIV-phobic way back then, too. First-time anal sex for both of us and I insisted he wear a condom to fuck me.”

“So? Did you like it?”

Adam shook his head. “No. It did hurt. We didn’t know what we were doing. Not enough lube maybe, or he just got into me too fast. It didn’t feel good at all. And I thought the condom was gross – plus we didn’t know how to dispose of it without his mother finding out.” He sighed. “Such drama and misery at that age. You couldn’t pay me to be fifteen again.”

Jean-Paul leaned in and they kissed a long time. “I love fucking you,” he said to Adam after a while.

“I love being fucked by you. I love fucking you, too. I’m not fifteen any more.”

“Did it get better with Yossi?”

Adam shook his head again. “Never got a chance. He was completely freaked out by it. Toevah – abomination – and we’d done it. I told him we could just go back to what we’d been doing.”

“Did you?”

“No. That was the end. I stayed the rest of the weekend but that was it. He never invited me over, never called me again, wouldn’t take my calls. He’d walk the other way if he saw me at school. He graduated that year, and I never saw him again.”

“Why? Why wouldn’t he just go back to your old David-and-Jonathan kissing and blow jobs religious life?”

“That’s the problem. He didn’t think he could. I didn’t like fucking, but he loved it. And he hated that he loved it. He felt like if we stayed together we’d keep doing it, because he couldn’t help himself. He said all he wanted to do was push his cock up my ass, that he was sorry he knew what it felt like because it felt too good to give up.” Adam shrugged again. “So since it felt so good he gave it up, and gave me up altogether. How fucked up is that?”

“I’ve told you before, Adam. That’s what religion does to people – makes them crazy.”

“Yeah, you and my mother. Opiate of the masses. It doesn’t have to be like that.”

Jean-Paul didn’t answer. He kissed Adam again, tongue stroking Adam’s, fingers in his hair. “All this sex talk is making me horny,” he said after a minute. “I want to push my cock up your ass, and I won’t tell you it’s a sin or not want to see you again afterwards. Come on,” he added, patting the bed. “Last chance to get fucked here. Live a little.”

“What would we use for lube?”

“I anticipated the need,” Jean-Paul replied, pulling a small tube from his pocket.


This is chapter 4 of a 10-part series. The entire series is being archived on my website here .

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:fyredancer
Date:January 12th, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
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This was a very lovely part, well-done and emotionally paced, and I liked the insight into Orthodox Judaism. =)

*grins over Jean-Paul's victory*
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From:mofic
Date:January 12th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
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It's actually a pretty active issue in Conservative Judaism right now, too, as discussed here: http://mofic.livejournal.com/43675.html. But it's certainly harder to be a gay Orthodox Jew. I hope Yossi found some kind of happiness eventually.

So, do you think J-P tied Adam up with the tefillin and had kinky sacreligious sex with him :-)?
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From:fyredancer
Date:January 12th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
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Oooh, blasphemous! I sure hope so!
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From:barnbat
Date:January 12th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
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Ah, young love. I agree with Adam - getting past those years is quite a relief.

I don't know what image you might have had in mind when you dreamed up Yossi, but as soon as I read the description I flashed to Sacha Baron Cohen out of character. You know, in his handsome suave mode, not in a bad suit with bad hair distributing bags of poop.
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From:mofic
Date:January 12th, 2007 11:34 am (UTC)
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LOL! I don't think I know what he looks like out of character (although I do know he is an observant Jew). I think he's quite brilliant - he seems to completely embody each character he does. But as a result I have no idea what he looks like in real life!

But I live in Brooklyn - I don't have to imagine what Orthodox guys in tefillin look like :-). Or even gay Orthodox guys in tefillin.
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From:barnbat
Date:January 13th, 2007 07:13 am (UTC)
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I'm an admirer of his work and skill too. He has the "clark kent/superman" ability to somehow completely disguise his true identity with nothing but a new outfit and sometimes a bit of facial hair or glasses. Ironically a skill that Superman himself has never demonstrated remotely to my satisfaction, despite the apparent success of his charade. You can see pictures of SBC looking (in my humble opinion) rather Yossi-ish here: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1807879068/photo/588653

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1807879068/photo/588654

Gay orthodox guys in tefillin you say? Perhaps another marvel to add to the New York sightseeing I plan to do sometime before I die. :)
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From:mofic
Date:January 13th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm a huge admirer of SBC's talent, but I have mixed feelings about his work. And LOL on the Superman thing. It does seem strange how none of Clark's intimates catch on to what seems obvious to the reader or viewer. They play with that as a humorous element in the most recent Superman flick (which I quite enjoyed).

Interesting pictures! Of course SBC is a grown man and Yossi is a high school senior in Adam's story. But I would say that Adam's description of him (geeky, nerdy, Semitic equivalent of a Greek god) seems to apply. And apparently SBC was a scholarly teen and young man, as well.

Have you seen the movie Trembling Before G-d? It's an excellent documentary about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews. I found it *very* hard to watch, but I think it's because I know too many people living like that. But, anyway, there are some guys profiled who have a Yossi-like approach to sex - anything but anal sex. And that's now officially a position of the Conservative movement.
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From:barnbat
Date:January 15th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the recommendations. I haven't seen Trembling (or the new Superman actually).

SBC isn't young enough, but somehow I tend to picture high school kids too old I think. Probably because there are 30 year old actors playing them on TV all the time. I'm not around the real deals that often, but it turns out they're somehow producing them as just babies these days. :)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:January 15th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
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Let me know if you find it accessible (Trembling before G-d, that is, not the new Superman). It's definitely not aimed at a specificlly Orthodox audience, but I can't really tell if it presumes some knowledge of Judaism. Of course, I don't actually know what your knowledge level is - I don't want to be presuming ignorance.

LOL on getting mixed up because of 30-year-old actors playing high school kids. I'm surrounded by teenagers, so I'm pretty aware of what they look like and sound like.
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