In Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound

In RUNNING FIERCELY TOWARD A HIGH THIN SOUND, by Judith Katz (Firebrand Books, Ithaca, NY, 1992), a Jewish lesbian, ostracized by her family and forbidden to attend her sister’s wedding, hides in the holy ark during the nuptial cermony:

LOOK CLOSELY. Does the light flicker oddly from within the Holy Ark? Is there a woman pressed in between the Torah scrolls? What is she doing? What does she want? Is she hugging the Torah scrolls or pissing on them? Eating them word by holy word, phrase by contentious phrase? She could be a member of this wedding, march down the aisle in a once-in-a-lifetime dress, hold her own personal bridesmaid bouquet, if only she could find it within herself to cut her hair put a layer of pancake make-up around her purple scar agree to dance the hootchy-cootchy and do the twist if only if only if only. But I am Nadine Pagan, a tough cookie to crack, a rough nut to crumble. I will never settle for basic black and a simple strand of pearls, I’d only look like a broken down velveteen chair, stuffing falling out of me. Not this Nadine Pagan. I remain hidden, never speak even when spoken to, joyless at the celebration of our own sister’s wedded bliss. This Nadine Pagan has fallen overboard. This Nadine this Nadine this Nadine is nothing if not hidden watching from the wings, studying firsthand and up close the lush satin and velvet robes of the Torahs, the sparkling silver crowns and breastplates, how I wish the rabbi would open the Ark, take me out and cradle me in his rabbinical arms, walk with me among the congregants to be kissed and blessed and blessed and kissed, how I wish someone would hold me up on the bima, untie me, unravel me, read my wisdom and stories out loud, bring blessings one to the other from inside of me, the holy teachings of Nadine, my own code of ethical love.