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Sensible Sari

Bracha Rosman

How long can a women wait for rainy day?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rochel laid Sari in the old wooden cradle, then ran her hand over the chipped white paint.

“Worked out just fine,” her husband said. “It would have been nonsense to have spent so much money on a new cradle. This one from the ‘Second Time ’Round Shop’ is just right. She’ll grow up to be a sensible girl, Rochel, just wait and see.” “Sensible like her mother, no doubt,” Rochel said, a hint of sadness in her voice. Sari whimpered and her mother wrapped the blanket more tightly around her soft little body. “And what’s wrong with being sensible?” her husband insisted. “Nothing,” Rochel said, wishing she hadn’t said anything at all. “Sensible Sari,” her husband continued. “That’s what we’ll call her.” Sari reached up for the doll her father held in his hands. “The lady at the rummage sale said she cries when you turn her over,” he told her. Sari took a long hard look at the doll’s thinning hair and shaky eye, then fingered the faded blue-and-white gingham dress and wondered where the stain had come from. This wasn’t at all like the rosy-cheeked doll she had so carefully cut out of the catalog and had stared at for weeks each night before her sixth birthday. She looked skeptically at her mother. Rochel smiled with regret, but Sari was too young to recognize it. “She’s a pretty baby,” her mother said, stretching the truth.

“She’ll need a pretty name.” Sari held the doll closer to her heart trying hard to love it. She knew it was a sensible purchase, just as they all were. “Would you like to show her your room?” her mother asked. Sari took her “new” doll to her room; once there, she crumbled the picture from the catalog in her little fist and shoved it deep into her drawer alongside the pain of disappointment.

She sat down on her bed, turned the doll over, and the two of them cried together. “Turn the handle bars to the left,” her mother called after

her. “Like this?” Sari yelled over her shoulder while losing control of the dark-green bicycle her father had picked up at a garage sale. She had wanted a shiny, new, lavender bicycle complete with a white wicker basket and colorful streamers just like the other girls had, but her father had insisted that a used bicycle was just as good. “Never mind the color and frilly accessories,” he had said. “This used one is sturdy and will last for years.” Years? Sari had thought miserably. She tried to steady the heavy bicycle, but it teetered, then fell on its side, throwing Sari onto the hard pavement. Her mother came running. “Sari, oh, Sari darling, are you all right?” Sari got up slowly and rubbed her bruised knee and elbow. “I’m okay,” she said, brushing away a tear. Her father walked toward her and picked up the bike. “I told you this bike was sturdy,” he declared. “Look, not even a dent after a fall like that!” Sari looked at the hideous green bicycle, but didn’t say anything. She never did. It wasn’t her father’s fault that money was tight. She had learned that at a young age.

 

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