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Mute Commute

Gila Arnold

The Egged bus pulled up and a short woman wearing a blue sweater and brown fall climbed on, swinging her bag over her shoulder. “Boker Tov,” she said to the driver as he punched her card. As usual, the lady wearing a trim beret and a vest over a flowing skirt sat on the right. Behind her, the chassidishe woman with the sheitel and hat rested her head against the back of her seat, Tammy located a seat across from the chassidishe lady and put down her stuffed bag. They were all regulars on the 7:30 bus.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

As soon as Ruchi walked into her fourth-grade classroom and swept a glance over the students, her heart sank. Shayna Lifschitz was absent again. The sixth time in three weeks. What was going on in that home? After the fourth absence, Ruchi had called the parents to find out if everything was okay.

“Fine, fine, we’re all doing fine,” her father had insisted. “She had strep, and then after going back to school she still didn’t feel 100 percent, so she stayed home the following week as well.”

A reasonable explanation, to be sure, but Ruchi still had a funny feeling about the situation. And now, two absences this week.

A half hour later Shayna slunk in, red-faced.

 

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