Then followed for me a night of fitful sleep. Yiddish, a language I wished to ban from my consciousness, sluiced through my unconscious mind. Sonya, the wanton matron, and her dialogue of profane theology, unspooled in my mind like a filthy thread, Got, Got, Got, merder, merder, merder, God, God, God, murder, murder, murder. She addressed me like a cruel step-mother in a fairy tale, but in a bustier and corset.
Goldfarb appeared, looking younger and dressed like a dandy from the last century. His hair was slicked back, colored a vibrant copper, and parted down the middle. He wore a matched mustache and spats. My wife Sharon was dressed like a little girl in a Hebrew school uniform, part hiking shorts, and part peasant blouse. He spoke Yiddish to her and fondled her precocious body, calling her pet names and muttering endearments. She answered him in an argot of biblical Hebrew, Medieval Aramaic, and whatever she said caused him to laugh manically.
“You never had a father or mother,” Sharon addressed me in Yiddish, looking away from the scene with Goldfarb, like an actor addressing a camera. “So it left a hole in your center. You chase after shadows. Does that surprise you?”
This biographical verity held its measure of mystery. The void which dream Sharon evoked was a cavern of echoes and false lights. All through the universe of my psyche, the reverberation of this Big Bang still evoked a measure of awe, years after the event of initial abandonment had moved far from its source, loosing vitality as it traveled, but having untoward, unexpected layers of cause and effect.
When I awoke, I found myself muttering Yiddish phrases at a feverish pitch. The words of my half-demented bubbe wafted through the medium of my illness. Her words were soothing but malodorous. She spoke the language of beggars, thieves, Chasids, an insular tongue of the enclosed world, the reeking armpit, but foremost that of the Golus, of Exile, of physical and metaphysical homelessness.
The very syntax and diction of Yiddish bespoke of a people without a land. The very formulations of the words, the harrowing twists of its verbal dissimilitude, was simply a way to deflect or absorb the crippling loss of place.
And old men like Goldfarb had taken their profound grief and translated it to the basest of lust: that of possessing the lover of another; that of co-mingling with the seed of another man, in the dark recesses of a woman. And to what end? To exorcise some deep set need to obey. To rid the Jewish body of its guilt and restraint. To do something you are not supposed to do.