m struggling my slow way through that night’s math homework, when the thought bursts through my consciousness. I need Shiri to help me. I drop my pencil.

I’d avoided all thoughts of Shiri since midwinter vacation. After spending the week following my trip to Brownsfeld flinching every time my phone beeped, I’d given up on Shiri. I’d never realized how good I was at closing the door firmly on my feelings. Apparently, I am an expert.

But tonight, perhaps due to my exhaustion over wedding preparations — we’d held an invitation-stuffing party last night — or maybe it’s just my frustration over math, suddenly the door is wide open and my memories of Shiri are flooding back in.

Rus has been reaching out ever since the l’chayim, and I’ve even received an RSVP from her for the wedding. Obviously, her whole family is coming. But it’s been radio silence from the Third Bear.

I tap my pencil against my notebook and shake my head. Focus, RaRa. Focus.

What is the probability that 50 percent of voters will stem from the first state and not the second?

I roll my eyes and whip out my phone.

Love problem 4 of the math hw. Like we know about voting when we’re 15.

I grin, anticipating Tamara’s LOL.


Okay, she must be busy. I head downstairs to grab a snack and hear voices coming from the living room.

I tilt my head, it sounds like Tzippy and Yechiel.

“…she’s your sister. I know how close you guys were. Are you sure you don’t want to reach out to her?” Yechiel sounds sad, disappointed even.

Something stirs inside of me.

“No! Yechiel, please, just leave it. I’m all for shalom, but she’s crossing lines. She has to realize she can’t treat people like that.”

I tiptoe toward the kitchen as quickly as possible, feeling oddly flushed.

Tzippy’s a brat, but I feel bad that I’m causing machlokes between the two of them.

I grab a bag of chips and a bottle of water and head back up to my room.

“There’s shalom but she’s crossing lines…”

Had I really crossed a line? I honestly hadn’t realized. I had just been trying to get my point about Yechiel across to Tzippy….

Speaking of which… I check my phone. Still nothing from Tamara.

I feel empty; alone.

Nobody is reaching out tonight.

I’m restless, untethered. I turn on music, but it feels wrong. I grab my makeup and begin applying dramatic amounts to my pale face.

I twist my hair into a huge bun on top of my head, so that I look like I have an afro.

I snap a picture of myself on my phone and check it out.

An archetype Purim clown grins back at me. I crack up, and then, spur of the moment, I send the picture to Shiri.

I type. This goof says she’s sorry from the bottom of her heart.

A second later my phone pings. Wow, Stonesworth style really is more sophisticated than Brownsfeld.

Giddy with relief and excitement and just plain joy, I hit dial.

Shiri’s warm voice fills my ear. “Hiya, goof. I’ve been waiting.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 753)