| Diary Serial |

Close Call: Chapter 2

Ahuva emailed me the next morning. She started with a professional yet friendly greeting, which I found impressive, then complimented me on the work I’d done for the air quality company’s ad campaign. After that, she asked for my input on the graphics for the ads.

I replied with a suggestion. She replied with a thumbs-up emoji. I replied with another suggestion. She replied with a question. I replied. She replied. I replied. She replied.

An hour passed. The thread continued. We discussed the ad campaign, but between the emails, we started a side discussion. Suddenly I noticed that Gmail had started a new thread, bounced off the original one. That happens when you reach a hundred emails in a thread.

We’d reached a hundred emails?

I stared at my screen incredulously. I expanded the email to reread the thread. With a goofy grin, I hit reply again.

Not sure you noticed, but the subject of this thread is Air Care. Just saying.

Ahuva replied: ROLLING!

The last exchange about the ad campaign had been forty minutes earlier.

I checked the time. Yikes, school! I was late. Like very, very, very. I sent Adina an email. Whoops! Didn’t notice the time. Running to school. And, um… well, nothing J

Like a caged bird, I flew around the house gathering folders and papers. Blow-drying my hair was out of the question. I gathered my hair up in a ponytail. My students would have a field day, oh well. A dab of makeup, some jewelry, shoes — out.

I arrived at school out of breath and with a feeble lesson I’d cobbled together in my brain as I ran. The secretary looked at me quizzically as I clocked in and begged her to run off some copies and deliver them to my classroom.

My lesson began on the wrong foot. Maybe my students sensed my preoccupation or maybe I was blowing the situation out of proportion, but I thought there was a strange undercurrent in the room. The girls were antsy. I snapped my fingers when I caught a girl shushkening. I glared at a student when I caught her smirking. I said, “Shifra!” when I saw her winking to a girl across the room.

After a few minutes of this, I dropped my notes with a look of disgust and walked around to the front of my desk. I folded my arms and waited. My students froze in their seats, looking at me suspiciously. Then I did what high school girls love best: I gave them a juicy mussar shmuess.

It was an excellent opportunity, considering I hadn’t prepared anything to teach anyway. I knew my students would go home and passionately dissect every word Miss Feldman had spat. Win-win situation.

When I got home, I grabbed the phone, eager to report my experience to my best friend Miriam Gugenheim. Before dialing, I absently checked my emails. There was a new message from Ahuva. But it wasn’t from her business email address. She’d started a new thread from her personal email account.

Subject: So?

The email contained two words. How was?

I hit reply.

Weird, weird day. Then I wrote up a complete report of my impromptu lecture and asked Ahuva what she thought, had I done the right thing? Did I lose my students with my impulsivity?

Ahuva’s response delighted me.

If your students didn’t love you before, rest assured, they love you now. I bet they’ll be hogging their phones tonight, dissecting every word you said.

Was she psychic or what?

I felt so much better. Of course, I had thought I handled it okay, but it was validating to hear it from an outside party.

I told this to Ahuva. She smiled — virtually, anyway. Then she said goodbye because it was time for her to leave the office.

Sitting back in my chair, I looked down at the cordless in my hand. I started dialing Miriam’s number. But then I changed my mind and clicked the phone off.

To be continued...

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 758)

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Tagged: Close Call