I perch on the ottoman at the foot of Tamara’s bed. “Your room,” I say looking around, “is so pretty, it makes me want to cry.” Tamara smirks from over her shoulder as she touches up her makeup. “Mission accomplished, then,” she says, and I laugh, but I really hope she’s joking.
Tiffy and Rikki are inside the walk-in closet, admiring a new coat whose designer status is lost on me. I’m too tired to pretend, so I just sit and gaze around. The room is so soft, so peaceful looking. Creams, grays, and lavenders accent most of the space, and gorgeous patterned wallpaper graces the wall behind the bed. I love the whole thing. My new Anthropologie linen suddenly seems very plain and plebeian compared to the soft class of Tamara’s room.
I ease myself backward onto the bed and lie down, knowing Tiffy and Rikki would turn green with envy at my daring, but not caring in the least. “Why is it,” I say to the ceiling, “that we do everything in your house, Tamara? I’ve never been to Tiffy’s, Rikki’s, or Bina’s, and you guys have never been to mine.”
Utter silence meets these words, a silence so thick and so long that I force myself to sit up to meet everyone’s stares. “What?” I say defensively.
Tamara is the first one to answer. “Okay, Brownsfeld,” she says slowly, her eyes gleaming. “Invite us over.”
I flush, realizing one second too late what I’d just done. “Well, tomorrow I’m babysitting for my aunt,” I say quickly. Tamara nods knowingly, so I rush on, before I can stop myself. “But Wednesday should be fine. I’ll just ask my mother.” Rikki opens her mouth, I interrupt her with a sigh. “Yes, I still ask my mother about having friends over. Get over it.” And then I lie back down to admire Tamara’s wallpaper, feeling I’d just signed my own social death sentence.

“Just be yourself,” Lani advises, as she hands me a thick envelope. “Here you go, a week’s pay.” I thank her and pocket it with a blush.
“But seriously, Rachel Ahuva,” she says, “the girls already love you, they’ve already accepted you. They want to come to your house because you invited them. Don’t get swept away, don’t be nervous. Okay, hon?”
I look at Lani, with her perfect sheitel and fur coat, and I feel sad. Because as different as I am from my mother, I’m just as different from Lani. Is there no one I can relate to anymore? Am I all alone in this big, confusing world?
“I hear you, Lani,” I reassure her, wrapping my Moncler scarf around my neck. I’d tried to buy a vest, but the $500 price range was just too much, no matter how trendy it is. A $200 scarf was extravagant but it was a good compromise. She gives me a hug and I hurry out, already dialing Mommy before the door even closes behind me. I need to head to Target this minute.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 740)