The wife holds his look, giving no ground.
The husband looks from wife to Reb Groshkover, apprehensive.
A heavy silence.
Reb Groshkover bursts into pealing laughter.
What a wife you have!
He wipes away tears of merriment; the husband relaxes, even begins to smile.
I assure you, Reb Groshkover, it’s nothing personal; she
heard a story you had died, three years ago, at Pesel
Bunim’s house. This is why she think you are a dybbuk; I,
of course, do not believe in such things. I am a rational
Reb Groshkover is still chuckling.
Oh my. Oh my yes. What nonsense. And even if there
were spirits, certainly. . .
He thumps his chest.
. . . I am notone of them!
Pesel always worried. Your corpse was left unattended for
many minutes when Pesel’s father broke shmira and left
the room—it must have been then that the Evil One—
She breaks off to spit at the mention of the Evil One.
Reb Groshkover is terribly amused:
“My corpse!” Honestly! What a wife you have!
Oh yes? Look, husband. . .
She steps forward to the reb, who looks enquiringly up at her.
. . . They were preparing the body. Pesel’s father shaved
one cheek. . .
As his eyes roll down to look at her hand, she draws it across his smooth right cheek.
. . . Then he left the room. He came back, and shaved the
other. . .
She reaches across to the other cheek, Reb Groshkover’s eyes following her hand—
. . . You were already gone!
—and drags her fingers across. A bristly sound.
Reb Groshkover laughs.