| Bentzi and the Peacock Feathers |

Bentzi and the Peacock Feathers: Chapter 18

Esti looked at me admiringly. “I would have been terribly scared... How did you know what to do?”





"Don’t worry, Mrs. Shulman, I’m going to get help!” I shouted, and ran out.

I wanted to tell some member of the staff but didn’t see anyone in the hallway. I flew down the stairs, two by two — waiting for the elevator might take longer — and shouted to the receptionist from across the lobby, “Mrs. Shulman isn’t feeling well! She almost fainted! Somebody come help her!”

After that, everything happened very quickly. Several staff members hurried up to Mrs. Shulman’s room, as well as her daughter Perele. I waited anxiously in the hallway. Only now did I have time to realize how scared I was. What had happened so suddenly to Mrs. Shulman? I prayed silently, asking Hashem to please let her be okay, to send her a refuah sheleimah.

“Here, Batya, drink this,” someone behind me said. I turned around and saw the receptionist handing me a cup of water. “And then go home, there’s nothing more you can do here now. You can daven at home for Malka bas Feiga. Good for you for getting help right away! Although it’s a pity you didn’t know that every resident here has an emergency button, especially for times like these. You didn’t need to run like that to get help. I guess Mrs. Shulman was too weak and confused to remember the button.”

“But what happened to her? What’s wrong?”

The receptionist shrugged. “I don’t know. She’ll be taken to the hospital for treatment, and with Hashem’s help, she’ll be all right.”

“Thank you,” I whispered. I drank the water in small sips and went home to tell Mommy all about it.

The next day in class I added a name to the list on the whiteboard of people to daven for: Malka Bas Feiga, for a refuah sheleimah. When I wrote the name Feiga, I thought about the devoted mother who had made sure her daughters would learn about Torah and mitzvos and be friends with other Jewish girls.

“Who’s that?” Esti asked me.

I told her about Mrs. Shulman and everything that had happened while I was visiting her.

Esti looked at me admiringly. “I would have been terribly scared… How did you know what to do?”

“I was scared too, and I didn’t really know what to do. I ran downstairs to tell the receptionist. Afterward she told me I could have just pressed the emergency button.”

“Did Mrs. Shulman really seem just as usual at first?”

“Almost… She didn’t feel so well, she was lying in bed instead of sitting in the lobby. But she talked to me like always, she was just disappointed when I told her that we wouldn’t be putting on the play after all. I never imagined it was so important to her… She sounded really sad when she said she had been looking forward to producing a play based on her mother’s story.”

“So let’s do the play!”

“What? But you said—”

“Never mind now what I said. I didn’t want everyone to feel sorry for me and work hard just so I could get the leading role in some bab—” She stopped mid-word, then went on, “—in a play that isn’t really professional. But if Mrs. Shulman wants it for herself, if she’s so upset that the play’s been canceled, then of course I want to do it, for her sake!”

to be continued…

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 859)

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