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eight nights of hanukkah

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first night.

 

webster brought his boyfriend slowly and meticulously towards him, with a gentle hand on his waist. the other came easily towards him, sitting in his lap with the tiniest smile across his lips. lieb passed his arms around his soulmate’s neck and kissed the crown of his face, earning a little giggle.

and they cuddled, and watched the candle gently die, their faces lit by the burning flame in a warm embrace.

 

second night.

 

lieb was alone, lighting the candles on the menorah. he wished david was there; he fucked up. he didn’t mean to get angry and shout incoherent things he didn’t believe. but as always, he did, and he went too far.  this is what he deserved.

he went to sit on a nearby stroll, when a firm knock on his door broke him out of his misery.

“is it too late for the second present ?”, the man said.

and lieb cried. and kissed the other man like he was desperate for his touches.

“you’re the present – the miracle -, web”

 

third night.

 

webster rarely saw lieb at his worst – broken and in tears. he let his fiancé cry his heart out, listening to his inaudible yiddish, and holding him close, trying to shush him.

the television was long turned off, but images of a young jewish boys and girls smiling, some joe even knew, with the title ‘antisemitic serial murders strike fear in san fransisco jewish’s community’ run through the both’s minds.

“you’ll be fine. all of you. you were strong enough to survive 5774 years of persecution, you’ll survive it, stronger than ever. isn’t it what hanukkah is about, after all ?”

but webster knew his words died in the thick air, between lieb’s muffled cries and yiddish insults.

 

fourth night.

 

david spined the dreidel, and let it land on the unknown letter. a smile broke across the jewish boy’s face.

“shin, shin, put one in !”

“i’m so bad at this game.”

“so admit defeat now ?”

“and let you choose the wedding theme ? never, next time, i’m falling on gimmel.”

“that we’ll see pretty boy.”

and webster did fall on gimmel. and he did win, much to joe’s dismay.

“shark themed now ?”

“don’t get ahead of it, it’s a surprise.”

“i hate it. i hate you.”

and david laughed and simply planted a kiss on the other’s lips before savouring his victory with a cup of wine.

 

fifth night.

 

“always wondered what you got a man who had everything, y’a know ?”, lieb whispered, handing out a neatly wrapped present.

david smiled, uncomfortable being reminded of his golden, awful childhood, and unwrapped the papers to discover a small black box, with his name written in golden. he opened it with anticipation, and almost had an aneurysm.

“a trip to the bahamas ?! just to see sharks ?! joe, i love you darling, but jesus christ, what the f- heck ?! this probably costed a fortune you clearly don’t have, i can’t accept, just- oh gosh-“

a kiss interrupted his rant, and webster leaned into the sudden contact, relaxing.

“too late for renting, we’re going next month, and everything is already packed, so… i guess i’m ‘kidnapping’ you for a few weeks”

“gosh i love you so much”

and they kissed again, until they were out of breath, and getting a little too handsy.

 

sixth night.

 

they were not used to a third voice singing along to their hanukkah songs, nor having a third month to feed with latkes, nor having tiny hands picking up the shamash to light the other candles. but it felt peaceful.

after their little girl finished lightening the six candles, she joined them on the sofa, filling the small gap between them, and gently took their hands in hers. both fathers smiled at each other and stroked their daughter’s hands, waiting for the christmas movie to finally start.

 

seventh night.

 

webster forgot when they started going to joe’s mother for hanukkah. probably when they got enough money to travel the country to see his family. their hanukkah celebrations were not peaceful anymore now. it was all swinging hips and chanting around wine, while the children played with toys in the bedrooms.

and even though it was new, he felt as if he has always done it, has if he had always been a part of this family, and as if the moment was fixed in stone, lost in time, and that the nights went on forever in the small home.

him dancing with his husband, while joe’s sisters enthusiastically cheered on them and joe’s parents watched them with loving eyes, was all he knew in this instant.

 

eight night.

 

the house was quiet. their children were long gone to college, long married and with children. it was just the two of them now, just like it all began.

they did not feel alone, though. the candles reminded them of all their past and cherished memories, of all the songs that were sung, kisses and presents shared, every hanukkah nights they ever spent together.

david brought his old lover’s left to his mouth, and softly kissed his ring. the other pretend to be disturbed by the sudden affection, but still whispered a soft ‘i love you’, before blowing the candles, and leading them both to bed.