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I fooled around with the rabbi

Too much teeth.

This is the phrase that sears through me as I stare at the rabbi who’s been hired to preside over my cousin’s small, graveside funeral. Minus the gray hair, he looks exactly the same as he did two decades ago, when he wasn’t a rabbi and we lay together partially clothed one late summer night in a neighborhood playground that I had loved as a child.

“Give me head,” he had said after about 20 minutes of making out in the playground’s sand pit underneath the swings.

“You want me to give you head?” I was a barely 19-year-old, conflicted Orthodox Jewish girl, the type who wore long skirts for synagogue and short ones for drinking at bars that let me get away with my fake ID. I was also a virgin who hadn’t yet solved the problem of branching out sexually while keeping what I would later recognize to be a rather idiosyncratic covenant with God.

He undid his belt, clearly disregarding the question mark at the end of my sentence. “That would be nice.”

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