Chapter 1 of ‘For Better or Worse’

MARK LICHTERMAN


From For Better or Worse

Prologue

Brighton Beach, New York
Spring, 1956

Twisting on the seat, the young woman looked at the receding figure, watching the old man as he crossed the street. When he was no longer in view, facing forward, “Did you see that old man back there, the way he looked at us?”

As the convertible waited for the red to change to green, the young man did see the old man.

When they began to drive, his eyes had flicked nervously to the rearview mirror and back to the busy, early evening traffic of Neptune Avenue.

Glancing at the pretty, darkhaired young woman sitting alongside him, “No,” he said. “What old man?”

“That old man back there!” she said impatiently. “When we stopped for the light he crossed the street. Remember? And he stopped and stared at you, then at me, almost like he knew us.” Feeling a chill, she shuddered. “I don’t know… the way he looked at us was… weird.”

Placing his hand upon her bare, sunwarmed knee, hesitating… “Back there? An old guy? Nah, I didn’t notice any old guy.”

1: Coney Island, New York

June 20, 1956

Four, Mitchie. Get me four!”

The young man looked over his shoulder, “Four? You want four?” as he, with his wife close behind, got into line behind a hairy, barefooted man wearing bathing trunks. “I thought you were the guy that wasn’t ever going to eat lobster.”

Even though it was midweek, the combination of the weekly Wednesday night fireworks display, a near ninety degree day and the balmy evening had brought thousands of milling people to Coney Island. The boardwalk was packed, but nowhere more jam-packed then in front of the blue and yellow clapboard structure with the yellow and blue sign that read:

NATHAN’S
COCA COLA ― HOT DOGS
LOBSTER ROLLS ― SHRIMP ROLLS

“Yeah, that’s right.” Moving even closer, putting both arms around his waist, rubbing her breasts provocatively against his back, whispering into his ear, “But that was before you made me, mmm…” Nipping his earlobe, breathing her sultry breath into his ear, “eat a, mmm…” Bending her knees outward, into the backs of his knees, causing his knees to buckle forward, flicking the inner ridge of his ear with her tongue, “lobster roll. Mmmm!”

Feeling the soft pressure of Marsha’s breasts on his back and the cool touch of her bare legs against the back of his bare legs, and her warm breath and moist tongue in his ear, even though he knew she was teasing him, even here, even within this mass of people, the feel of her breasts, the brushing of her body and the touch of her tongue brought about the usual, and―really, though, any of the three individually would bring about the very same result and―a part of Mitchell’s body responded.

Leaning to the side, looking down, Marsha saw that she’d gotten the response she’d inspired―and expected. Smiling, taking her arms from about his waist, but pinching his behind in the process…

“Ouch! Jesus, Marcie,” pretending to pout, but truly loving her every touch, “you got sharp nails!”

“The better to pinch you with, my dear.” Backing away, “I’ll get a bench.”

“No,” moving forward as the line shortened, “I’ll need help.” But Marsha was gone and Mitchell, and his stretched fly, were alone in the crowd.

Looking.

Holding two Coke bottles by their necks in one hand and a bag with fries and eight miniature hamburger buns filled with grilled lobster salad in the other, looking for Marsha…

The multihued light of the setting sun reflecting upon Marsha Lipensky’s face…

My God

Sitting on a bench gazing at the choppy ocean, shiny strands of long black hair moving about her head in the slight, summer breeze, Marsha’s long, slender legs stretched forward, the soles of her sandals pressed upon the bottom slat of the wooden balustrade…

His breath catching, My God, he thought, she’s so beautiful!

Sensing she was being watched, turning her face in his direction…

Crossing her eyes, Marsha stuck her tongue out at him.

* * *

Four months from her twentieth birthday, Marsha Lipensky, nee Goldman, was tall―5 foot, 7½ inches tall―and thin, weighing one hundred, thirty pounds. Her luxurious black hair, bound close to her scalp, accentuated her sharp widow’s peak, giving her a pony tail that hung midway down her back. Marsha had an ovalshaped face with a slightly long nose, almond shaped, darkbrown eyes, short lashes and wellshaped brows. Her complexion was clear and dark, and was made even darker by a deep tan, producing, if not a stunningly lovely face by “movie star” standards, than certainly a classically beautiful, Semitic appearance.

Marsha wore white, kneelength shorts, a white, shortsleeved cotton blouse and black sandals.

Two months from his twentysecond birthday, Mitchell Lipensky was six feet tall, weighed one hundred, seventyeight pounds, had straight, darkbrown hair with, coincidently, a widow’s peak. He had a roundish face, green eyes, long lashes and thick―tending to be scraggly―brows. Mitchell had a wellshaped nose, and he, too, was dark complected, also made darker by an early summer tan.

Mitchell wore white shorts, a lightblue Tshirt and, nottooclean, white deck shoes.

Heads would turn to look at either Marsha or Mitchell singularly, because individually they were both strikingly goodlooking people, but together, they complemented each other.

“Hi, baby!” Sitting on the bench, placing the bag and bottles between them, “J’ya miss me?”

“Miss you? Yeah! Did I ever miss you… Where’s the grub?”

A burst of light, then, poom, the reverberating sound of the first rocket of the night, that was felt in the chest as well as heard.

As the lights of the boardwalk went on, the fireworks, fired from a barge anchored a halfmile offshore started.

* * *

“What a beautiful night, Mitch.” Squeezing his hand, looking at the velvetyblack, starpierced, moonlit sky, “I don’t know why, but no matter how often I see them, fireworks always excite me.”

Living less than a mile from the amusement park, walking home, eating ice cream cones, “Yeah.” Looking at her, draping his right arm across her shoulders, using the palm of his hand on the side of her face, moving her head closer to his, “So you say you’re excited, huh?” flicking his cold, wet tongue over the tip of her nose.

“I was! That’s disgusting, Mitchell!” Poking him in the side with her elbow, swiping her hand over her nose. “And no, I’m not excited ‘that way’! Is sex all you ever think about?”

“Me? Think about sex? Nah, I never…” Shifting the cone from his left to his right hand, reaching across his chest, “think of sex,” he cuddled her left breast.

Looking about to see if anyone was watching, “Mitchie,” but the people walking in front were not looking back and the people behind couldn’t see beyond their backs. “someone’ll see!” Taking his hand from her breast, “Come on, stop!”

Her tone of voice, though, was not serious, so he reached to her breast again.

But pulling away, skipping out of reach, “You’ll never change, Lapishky! I said it before and I’ll say it again: you’re nothing but fat, old centipede!”

“Yeah!” Shoving the last three inches of the cone in his mouth, letting about an inch of the sugarwafer point protrude through his puckered lips, making “bugeyes” and mumbling around the cone in a deep voice, “But I’m your fat, old centipede!” Reaching forward with both hands, wiggling his fingers, he chased Marsha―who waved at the guard in the shack―around the lowered wooden barrier into…

* * *

Seagate is a gated community located on the very tip of Coney Island. On a small peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, Seagate consisted of wood-frame and brick structures that in earlier years had been the homes of the wealthy. But by 1956 many of the larger buildings had been converted into apartments and boarding houses that intermixed with newer, single family homes and modern, one and two story apartment buildings.

Mitchell’s father, Walter, had an elderly aunt, Ida, that lived in Seagate, and as both Marsha and Mitchell were from Chicago, rather than move his bride to a place where they knew no one, Mitchell had looked for an apartment near his great aunt.

Through Ida, Mitchell had met Mrs. Tennenbaum, who owned the recently remodeled, two story apartment building kitty-corner from Ida’s boarding house.

The Tennenbaums not only owned the building, but a furniture factory as well, and as Mrs. Tennenbaum liked Mitchell, thinking of him as a “nice Jewish boychik,” she had the 16×30 one room kitchenette apartment decorated to his taste. He, knowing his at-that-time future wife’s favorite colors―well, they were actually married at that time, but not, as Marsha’s mother had stated, “in the eyes of God”―had the apartment decorated to Marsha’s taste. Mrs. Tennenbaum then furnished the small apartment with “hardly noticeable seconds” from her husband’s furniture factory.

Marsha’s mother, Rhea, had offered her daughter a large wedding, which, of course, Marsha had accepted, and the shower gifts, along with much of Marsha’s clothing, from the Goldman apartment on the far north side of Chicago, and much of Mitchell’s clothing, from the Lipensky home in Skokie, Illinois had been sent ahead via Rail Express.

Since the wedding last December, Marsha and Mitchell had lived at 2915 Neptune Avenue, Seagate, New York.

Marsha, by determination, and Mitchell, because he had truly felt that “God don’t want me to ever get fucked!” were both virgins at the time of their wedding. Really, though, due to timing and a state of Illinois regulation, their two marriages, because they had been married twice, two months apart, and then, because of a totally out of character demand by Rhea, that, after years of “trying” further fortified his “God don’t want me to ever get fucked” theory―they did not consummate their marriage till one week after the second marriage―the “in the eyes of God” marriage.

And now, approaching their sixth full month of marriage, their consummated, “in the eyes of God” marriage, Marsha and Mitchell had begun to learn each others habits, to know each other physically, and―as much as a man can ever “know” a woman―somewhat mentally and…

One of the first things Mitchell had learned about Marsha was the time she spent in the bathroom getting ready for bed, and―though he’d never said so, although she had never given him any reason other than, in his opinion: often giving the appearance of being rather unemotional during sex; occasional headaches that eliminated sex altogether; the days before “that” time of month when she was in a terrible mood; that “time of month” itself, with the exception of twice now, his idea of a different way to “skin a cat,” and―spending a lot of time in the bathroom at bedtime, Mitchell had begun to think the reason she remained in there for as long as did was to give him time to fall asleep, thus eliminating sex.

On this night, lying nude on the open, sleep-ready sofa bed, he’d been waiting for her to come out and now, coming off the bed, going to the closed door, he listened to the sound of running water…

Opening the door, assailed by a cloud of steam, standing a moment looking at the defused hair and flesh tones of Marsha’s body behind the translucent shower curtain, “Marcie?”

In deep thought, the sound of his voice startling her, “Mitchie?” Then seeing the skin-toned shadow on the other side of the frost-colored curtain, she poked her head around.

“Hi, baby. Thought maybe you’d like some company. Like maybe you’d like your back scrubbed.”

His unexpected entry into the bathroom, coinciding with what she had been thinking; thinking that, Maybe I can make “it” happen now. Surprising him by drawing the curtain open, “Sure,” she said, becoming somewhat aroused herself, “come on in.”

Mitchell’s chest was hard and covered with fine, dark brown hair. Though not noticeably muscled, his arms were solid, his stomach flat, his buttocks firm, his calves and thighs nicely taut. And, jutting from within the tangle of pubic hair, his penis stood rigidly forward.

* * *

Before meeting Mitchell again―because they had met six years earlier―keeping all boys’ hands away from where she knew they shouldn’t be, Marsha Goldman had held herself in tight rein on so many occasions when she had been in passionate situations with young men whom she’d liked, and one whom she thought she loved, when she had wanted, on so many occasions, to let the boy touch her breasts and her crotch and for her to touch the boy, too. To feel it, and yes, to see it, too… But she hadn’t, and even now, after almost six months of marriage and the intimacy of marriage―though she kept it well hidden―Marsha Lipensky still felt a sense of excitement when she saw her aroused husband nude.

When not aroused, leaving less than three inches exposed, Mitchell’s penis all but disappeared within his pubic hair. When in a state of erection, though, it swelled to about six and a half inches, and Marsha constantly enjoyed watching as, magically, the small nub came out of hiding, jerked to life and engorged. And she was always, always, thrilled to know that―sometimes by doing nothing more than merely looking at him, watching it―she was the reason for this erotic metamorphosis.

While menstruating, and for the few days preceding her menstrual cycle, intercourse was called off and, although it was he that requested it, twice in the six months of their marriage―even though she would never tell him―Marsha did enjoy sitting bare chested between his spread legs, knowing he was looking at her breasts as she held his penis in her hand and “took care of him…” And she always marveled at the projected power of the first bursts of semen.

* * *

Putting his leg over the rim, stepping into the tub, looking at his wife’s wet, nude body, becoming even more impassioned…

From the rear, Marsha could easily pass for a slight boy: her torso was thin, bordering on skinny. She had broad shoulders, no hips, a straight waist and small, very tight buttocks. From the front, though, there was no mistaking Marsha Lipensky for anything but a woman. The size of her breasts fell toward the smaller end of medium, but because she had a wide rib cage, appearing larger then they actually were, her breasts would tend to fill out at the sides, giving Marsha attractive, wide cleavage. About the size of half dollars, her areolae were domed and dark pink in color. Marsha’s stomach was solid and concave. Her legs were long and slender with well defined calves. Her pubic hair was pitch black and silky fine.

Mitchell’s idea of the perfect girl had always been the CocaCola ad “girl next door” face on a big-busted, slightly meaty body with solid thighs and buttocks with, maybe, a “cute little tummy.”

Generally what he liked were sunny-faced girls with a little “meat on their bones.”

When he thought back―or when he was angry at Marsha, usually because she was angry at him―he wondered how and why he ever fell in love with a slightly Semitic-looking, to say the least, moderate-busted, all-but-skinny girl. And yet he truly did love Marsha, and did think of her as beautiful.

As much as Mitchell enjoyed looking at her dressed, he―big surprise―especially loved looking at her nude. And most of all he loved looking at―big surprise again―Marsha’s breasts. And because he’d never imagined―and, Oh, yeah, Mitchell had spent a lot of time imagining―that any breasts could ever be quite as lovely as Marsha’s, what he absolutely loved to look at above all else were her beautiful, dusky pink areolae and nipples.

Mitchell was not a sound sleeper, whereas his wife was, and when occasionally she would sleep without pajama tops, usually awaking before her, he would lay waiting until a streamer of light from the part in the drapes―that he would usually part a wee bit wider―would lay across the bed. Then, if Marsha were laying in the right direction, he would carefully lower the blanket from over her shoulder and, with his head propped in the palm of his hand, just look at her, and…

In these quiet times his heart would swell with love―and restrained passion―and he would wonder how he would ever be able to live without this gift given him by God…

Marsha, his Marsha.

* * *

Hot water streaming onto him, onto her, their bodies tightly encircled by arms, with hands clasped onto the other’s buttocks.

“Marcie,” feeling the soft push of soap-slicked breasts onto his chest, “God, how I love you!”

“Mitchie,” holding him, sensing the heat within her hand, “I love you, too!”

Mouths tightening, tongues entwining.

Exploring the soapy-slick valley beneath his left hand, gliding over the twin mounds of Marsha’s small, hard buttocks. His right hand, rubbing over her vulva… probing… parting the petals, his finger, sliding into the so warm, so lubricious channel.

Straining into the probe of his finger, slowly moving one hand forward and back along the warm, hard shaft, the nails of the other hand tightening into the flesh of his buttock, urging Mitchell even closer.

Breaking the kiss, lowering his head, holding a breast from beneath, bringing it to his lips, along with the streaming water he drew Marsha’s excited, now elongated, tightly constricted nipple deeply into his mouth.

When with a girl, the revered moment for Mitchell had always been the first time he’d been allowed to taste her. To put his tongue onto, and run it over and around her areola. To draw the nipple into his mouth. To taste the sweet, salt tang of her flesh. And every girl he knew―at least the ones that would allow this―had tasted differently. Or maybe, really, the girls had all tasted the same, but being different girls, what he had really tasted was the excitement of their newness.

* * *

Pulling from her hand, bending at the knees, crouched before her, running his mouth and tongue over Marsha’s streaming flesh… to over and around the tiny projection of her “outie” navel… and down. And because the mat of her pubic hair was wet and lay flat, her vulva was fully visible through the thinly wet hair and the projection of her mound was seemingly more pronounced… And he drew the hard, soft mound fully into his mouth, and bit softly, but not too softly, onto the hairy flesh.

Feeling the delicious pain of the bite, placing one hand on his head, the other hand tightening till her knuckles became white around the steel shower curtain rod, as, biting her lower lip, Marsha waited for what she knew, for what she expected, what she wanted to come next, as…

Parting the fleshy folds with his tongue, turning his face to the side so the water would channel over his lips rather than into his mouth, touching his tongue to the upper cleft of her vagina, Mitchell licked the budding tip of Marsha’s clitoris, as…

Arching her pelvis forward, widening her thighs, holding the back of his head, pressing his mouth onto, and his tongue into her vagina, savoring the dual erotic sensations of a clitoral caress and the in-and-out motion of his tongue, closing her eyes…

* * *

Rather than merely ejaculating into a prophylactic, Mitchell truly loved doing “this” to Marsha. To taste Marsha… to really taste Marsha. To literally take the sweet fluid of her sex, of her body into his and thus, so he did believe, the two became more a part of one…

Besides, rapidly excited, once actual intercourse began he was prone to quick ejaculation.

Also, always quiet during foreplay and intercourse, at times such as this Marsha would usually show some sort of response and, at least at these times, Mitchell felt he was able to give her, he sincerely hoped, as much pleasure as she always gave him.

And, oh, yes! He’d love to have Marsha do “the same” for and to him, but, as she’d told him… “Do not expect me to do that to you, Mitchell! Nice Jewish girls don’t go ’round giving their husbands ‘blow jobs.’”

“How,” he had asked, “do you know?”

“Well, I’m sure your mother doesn’t do ‘that’ to your father.”

Yes, he thought, that’s true! Because, as most progeny, he could not imagine his mother and father having even simple intercourse, let alone his mother giving his father a blow job.

“And,” Marsha had continued, “I’m sure my mother has never done ‘it’ to my father.” Yes, of that Marsha was rather sure. But to other men? That, she was not too sure of.

* * *

Her feet braced against the sides of the tub, her back pressed against the tiled wall, straining her pelvis even further, opening her thighs even wider, holding Mitchell’s head, moving it in a tight circle… Sensing the approach of orgasm, the volume of air being drawn into her lungs and rapidly exhaled increasing… feeling the sharp sweetness begin, twisting her fingers in his hair, forcing his mouth even harder onto, and his tongue even deeper into… “Mmmm!”

He’d truly love to have been aware of it, but unfortunately the distance from Marsha’s mouth along with running water having covered the sound of her moan, but going with the urging of her hands…

Knowing herself, from the times he’d done this before, knowing she was capable of a second orgasm within minutes―or seconds―after the first. But truly loving the feel of Mitchell within her body, wanting him… Oh, yes! Wanting him there, “Stand up, baby!” Prompting him upward, taking hold of him, standing on tiptoes, guiding him into her vagina… When she was sure he was as deeply implanted as the length of his penis and the upright angle of their bodies would allow…

Oh, God! Not knowing whether he’d thought or said the words.

“Oh, God!” Feeling the lubricious, wonderfully warm tightness surround him.

Feeling the lubricious, wonderfully warm tightness that encompassed not just the length and breadth of his penis, but all of Mitchell, as though his entire physical and mental being was fully engulfed within the marvelous, sweet sheath of Marsha.

…Bringing her hands onto his buttocks again, again prodding her nails into the soft flesh, again forcing their bodies close… closer. Urging his pelvis to move in a tight circle in rhythm with hers, “Mitchie,” the sweetness beginning again, “I love you!”

Moving within the rhythm of Marsha’s rotation, holding her buttocks as she held his, their closely held genitalia swaying in concert within the tight circle…

“Mmmm!”

Once again… Or possibly the sweet pain had never ended and now was but one continuous orgasm, “Mitchie,” breathing her warm breath in his ear, “Oh, Mitchie!”

“Marcie!” Brought to an even higher plane of excitement, not only because of where they were, but also due to Marsha’s uncharacteristic show of passion.

Pushing deeper, his motion changing…

Grinding their bodies even closer…

Now, changing her circular rhythm to his pumping rhythm.

Moving his pelvis only. Push… retract… push… retract… push… Nearing!

Nearing… his motion changing… faster, harder, fore and back. Fore and back… His pelvis and penis, jerking forward, jerking backward…

Now…!

Standing perfectly still, actually feeling the penile contractions within her vagina… within her body.

Her heart lurching, knowing where his semen now flowed.

“I love you!” their words mixing with running water, “I love you!” Their mouths coming tightly together, each breathing their hard, ragged breath into the mouth of the other, till…

The fingers of their four hands relaxed, the twenty indentions in their two sets of buttocks turning from white to normal…

Their lips loosening, their heads moved back, their eyes opening, each looked into the half-opened eyes of the other, till…

Their breathing slowed… Marsha’s breasts moved from Mitchell’s chest… Mitchell’s retracted penis slipped from Marsha’s vagina, and… The two stood, without words, but yet together.

Outwardly, the look on Marsha’s face appearing serious, “Mitchie,” out of sight, inwardly smiling, her heart pounding, “we didn’t use a rubber.”

“Yeah, I know.” Standing back, looking at his wife, placing both hands onto her shoulders, “But you know sometimes people try for years without having a baby, and this is the first time we’ve ever done it without a rubber, so don’t worry about it; nothing’ll happen.”

Marsha was not worried; she was not worried at all.

And this was not the first time they had “done it without a rubber.”

The very first time they had intercourse, at 3:56 a.m. on December 25, 1955, Christmas morning, seven days after their second marriage―their “in the eyes of God,” not yet consummated marriage―when after waiting for Marsha’s early, excitement-induced period to end, when after three days of trying and failing due to Mitchell’s mind-induced failure to maintain an erection long enough for insertion, when finally, with the help of a bottle of “Carter’s Indelible Blue/ Black Ink,” they were able, finally, to consummate their marriage, when they had intercourse… in their sleep.

And they didn’t use a rubber then, and nothing happened…

Then…

* * *

See more: For Better or Worse

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