Shulamit perceived the serenity of a divine benevolence in the way this touch made her feel


She tried to relax, but it was difficult, knowing how important tonight could be. Resting her head on Aviva’s shoulder, she began to sing softly. Aviva harmonized with her in a rich, gentle alto, her arm around the queen, idly caressing the bare skin of her upper arm. It was more than simple physicality. Shulamit perceived the serenity of a divine benevolence in the way this touch made her feel. Jahandar and his daughter-in-law were tiny in the distance, their bigotry drowned out by a broad black sky full of watchful stars. This was the real truth, this existence out here, in which she knew that her love, their love, was as pure and blessed as any union of man and wife.

Out here in nature, away from the palace and between nations, was she really still queen? Was she not, here in the open, just a woman, one of millions, lucky enough to have been granted one amazing person with whom to share her life and her love? She’d never expected that a teenage dalliance with a cook could have led to this, back in those days when they were just friends who discovered they enjoyed each other’s warmth. Over the years, the more she’d learned of Aviva, the more she realized the depth of her love. It was so right, so natural, so intended that Aviva should be sharing this next step with her. 

excerpt from Climbing the Date Palm, the sequel to The Second Mango. From Prizm Books as an eBook package, from Amazon Kindle or paperback, and in autographed paperback from Wild Iris Books here.

Art drawn on commission by Rebecca Schauer.

About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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