The Engagement
    Avital Gad-Cykman
When my grandmother was seventeen, the town's cinema was five. The velvet seats had not yet arrived from China, but the Mexican cinema manager had no intention of waiting for the seats with closed doors. He placed rows of wooden benches in front of the stage. Among those, the benches in the rear became the most popular among the young.

The manager kept one bench for selected girls: my future grandmother and her two friends, all blessed with dark beauty and graced by narrow hips and generous bottoms. The manager himself, a charming albino, had muscular shoulders and strong hairy legs that made up for the lack of pigmentation. He was considered the only "blond" in the interior of Brazil, and in that lay his success with women.

He would let the whole line of people trail into the cinema, like a snake between two rocks, no matter how long it was. When the cinema became very full, as it usually did, children sat on their parents' laps. When it was full to capacity, women sat on their men's laps.

One day, "Casablanca" arrived in town. It was seven years late, but still exciting. My grandmother put on her party dress. It was a princess`, no less, tight in the bosom, and flowing in soft layers from the hips down to her bare feet.

The cinema was hot and crowded. My grandmother lifted the back of her dress and sat on the manager's lap. Underwear was not in fashion then.

Unlike her, he hadn't dressed up for the occasion, but stayed in his khaki shorts. As soon as she landed on him, he freed himself from all that could come between them. While they watched the beginning, he caressed her, and when Sam played it again, the manager lifted my grandmother and sat her straight upon his erection. She was a virgin at the time and a small happy gasp escaped her. Luckily it suited the scene. He rocked back and forth, while she moved as if riding a Casablancan camel. Soon, she shivered and he exploded and shot vital substances straight into her womb. This was how they became engaged.

Avital Gad Cykman was born and raised in Israel, now living in Brazil. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Happy, Zoetrope All Story Extra, AIM, Imago,, (translated to Italian), The Café Irreal, Karawane Magazine, In a Nutshell Anthology, Short Story Magazine, The Blue Review, Eclectica and The Shallow End. She is a prizewinner of an Israeli contest "Hamegeira," judged by the editors of three leading literary magazines.

This work will also enter the Ethnic Anthology.

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