Purification / Short story by Dafna Feldman

Short story by Dafna Feldman
The stench of sweaty testicles and an anus that had not been completely cleansed hit her nose as he pushed her head between his legs.
You idiot! He did not bring you here to listen to music, or to have a conversation.
When he took her to bed, in her woozy state, she blurted out that she was menstruating.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said, pushing her head hard against his pubic area.
She understood what was expected of her, but just wanted to run away and did not know how.
She did not even know where she was. That is, she knew she was in a house in a Jerusalem neighborhood and that it was dark outside. She did not remember much else. After the fourth glass of Glen Moray at the bar, she felt like a wind-up doll, and all that was left was to turn it on.
What happened before she found herself between these hairy thighs?
Yes, she remembered. She was at the “Glasnost” pub at the Russian compound, with Sima and Mika. It was an outing of waitresses, after a long shift in the lobby of the Paradise Hotel. Because she spoke fluent English and was pleasant-looking, she was chosen to work in the lobby, with the other worthy ones, in so-called “preferred” post-military work. He was at the bar, an older man with lush blond hair and a foreign and intriguing accent. He caught her with his gaze and she, driven by the power of ancient demons, did not think to refuse.
If Mika or Sima were sitting where she was sitting, facing the bar, it could have been any of them. It’s all a matter of location and viewpoint.
Her stomach turned. Dinner rose from the stomach up her throat.
A hand pulled at her hair.
“Suck it.”
She opened her mouth around his dick, disconnecting from the taste and smell glands in her head.
No! They would not have responded to a look from this man. Nor would they have found themselves where she is now. “It’s me.”
She was here because of herself, and her only way to get out of there was to satisfy his desire.
Fingers grabbed her hair, raising her head, lowering her head, up and down, up and down, at a humiliating and increasing pace.
“I’ll bite him, like an animal biting its foot to get out of a trap. Maybe that’s what I need to do, one bite will suffice.” She could almost taste blood in her mouth.
Then he groaned and came.
The combination of alcohol and friction in her throat raised the contents of her stomach from the esophagus to the mouth. She got up immediately, one hand covering her mouth, the other hand groping in the dark for a light switch that would direct her to the bathroom. She didn’t make it to the toilet, spraying the bathroom with vomit. Only the toilet remained clean.
After rinsing her face in the sink, she raised her head and stared at the mirror. Disheveled hair, flushed face and red eyes, adorned with runny black mascara
She turned away from the mirror and looked around. The white Formica cabinets, the toilet seat, the floral shower curtain–all stained by a three-star-hotel dinner and cheap whiskey.
From embarrassment and a proper education, she bent down on her knees and began to clean the vomit with toilet paper.
“Are you okay?” he asked hoarsely.
“Yes, yes, absolutely,” she replied and began to clean up faster, afraid that he’d get up and see and be angry.
“There’s money on the dresser at the entrance. Take it for a cab.”
“Thank you,” she replied in a weak voice and got up off the floor, at once deciding to get out of there right away.
She tiptoed, groping in the dark for her clothes. He slept on his stomach, his face sunk into the pillow and his golden hair hiding his face. Slight snoring sounds rose from his direction. She went out of the bedroom to the entrance. A twenty shekel bill awaited her, and she wished she did not need it, but that evening’s tips had remained at the bar.
She descended the steps of the old building in the dark, and went out to the ending darkness of the beginning of a Jerusalem morning. Now outside, she recognized that she was in Rehavia neighborhood and started walking in the direction of Gaza Street where she remembered there was a taxi stand. As she walked, she wondered about the sun, pondering whether it could wake up whenever it felt like it, or if perhaps it might also have commitments it couldn’t avoid. How depressing, she thought, that the still-sleeping sun did not know the challenge before it, another winter day.
Today the sun would be pale, and all its attempts to send rays of light would fail. The modesty patrol of the clouds would cover its warming pubis and humans would call it a fake sun. But it must, or perhaps not. Perhaps it chooses to shine every morning, perhaps because God orders it to do so, perhaps because it never thought it could do otherwise.
Her body shivered from the cold and the money she received burned in her pants pocket. The more she tried to stop thinking about it, the greater the burning in her body. She walked up the street, passing the grocer who was unloading crates of vegetables from a truck, farther toward Balfour Street. There at the intersection, next to the restaurant that had been blown up in a terror attack, a taxi stood by with its engine running, the driver inside engulfed in cigarette smoke.
“Need a cab?” he asked in a voice hoarse from the morning and cigarettes.
“How much to Kiryat HaYovel?”
“Forty shekels.”
“I only have twenty.”
The driver burst out laughing.
“Do you think there is anything that can be bought for twenty shekels these days?”

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