Vil’amsburg Diaries: Drinking, Singing, Kissing, Crying
Now they’re all dancing. Men only. They stand on one side of the table. Hands on their neighbors’ shoulders. Eyes closed. “Ay ay ay, Va’toisef Ester va’tevakesh.” The three older ones wear funny-looking hats. The younger ones only have their beards sprayed white. I look at my beard, I can spray it black only. It’s already closer to white. They sway back and forth. The women stand on the opposite side, right next to me, and snap pictures. They laugh. The men understand the cue. They get funnier. They pause for another cup of wine.
I join them. One cup follows another. One song follows the next. The songs become somber, slow Yom Kippur songs. Pierem, Yom Ke’Pierem. Never forget that. Soon the women look frightened by the sight of grown men crying. Acting out. Shloime starts to hug everyone around. It’s funny at first. Not so when he starts kissing. He’s kind of weird. Everyone in the family knows.
I know I won’t be able to drive home. Breindy is upset at me for something. I may have broken something. There’s glass all over the place. That’s my brother-in-law over there. In the bright orange hat and bow tie. But he’s a brother-in-law from the other side. Wife’s sister’s husband. What’s he doing here? He must have come with the hordes of people collecting money. As the Talmud says, “Each who extends a hand, he is given.”
Little Bruchy is climbing up my lap. She removed her oppressive strawberry costume and is left with the pimply face made up in red and black. It’s late in the night for her. She must be tired. I miss Nuchem. I haven’t heard from him all day. I hope he isn’t out there doing something stupid. Last year he came home Shushan Purim morning and slept until the afternoon of the next day. He must be far’drugged, Breindy decided then. After which she decided never to talk about it. Or think about it. Se zol nisht shaten far shidiechim.
Is Nuchem that unhappy? I just hope he doesn’t do drugs. He’ll get addicted, then rob banks and get AIDS. He just shouldn’t get caught. There are uncovered cops on the streets purim. They look for drunk drivers. I may be too drunk to drive too. We will walk home. Or take a car service.
My eyes are closed. My mouth is dry and hoarse. We’re singing “koh echsoif.” A tear forms in my eye, soon to follow the one already trickling down, getting lost in my beard. I’m part of it now. I belong. I belong. I belong.