CARMEN`S PRAYERS

The area at one time belonged to a community of Orthodox Jews, serving as their rustic retreat, a resort during the summer season where they might escape the noisy, exhausting life of the city to quietly pray, take a stroll, or just spend time on the beach in Orthodox fashion—fully clothed. It isn’t fitting for strangers to look at the naked body of a Jewish man or woman; references to Adam and Eve, who wore only fig leaves instead, are irrelevant. A Jew must be dressed even at the beach. Such is the will of G-d! So it is stated in the Talmud!

In time, the area had been made suitable for living year-round. And the Italians and Russians encroached onto the territory of the Hasidic Jews. Architecture there spoke to these demographic changes, too: new luxury villas with rows of marble lions and grandiose fountains joined the ordinary, often neglected homes of the Hasidim.

Sea Gate, where Roy and his family moved to in the summertime, was located approximately a half hour drive from their home in Brooklyn, in Dyker Heights. So, they could always drop by the house if need be.

***

They unpacked and settled into their new house quickly. They had rented an apartment in a two-story home from an Orthodox Jew until September. The residence had numerous amenities: it was a stone’s throw from the beach, and had a large green backyard with old trees, a table beneath a canopy, and a swinging bench. Like in the country.

***

Dressed in shorts, Roy reclined in the chaise longue and sipped whiskey with tomato juice.

He was thirty-seven. He was slender, of medium height; he had a large forehead, and wore his long soft hair combed back. He had a straight nose and his chin was narrow. He gave the impression of someone deadly tired and detached from the outside hustle and bustle. But at the same time, he continued to keep a curious eye on everything around him.

He drank small sips of the fiery whiskey and looked first at the cardinal on the wires, then at Nick, who was making the acquaintance of a peer who was wearing a formerly white, but now grey, shirt and yarmulke. Michelle, meanwhile, was finishing setting up the new nest.

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