“Rikki Dee, I may not have a hidden sister somewhere, but I also could use chizuk for something”
“Hi, Ruchie,” Rikki said. “Good Shabbos. Come on in.” The girls went into the living room and sat down on the couch.
“So?” Ruchie said.
“So, what did your parents tell you?”
Rikki leaned back on the couch and folded her legs under her skirt. “Nothing really earth shattering, but I did see a picture of her.”
“She’s cute. I mean, you can tell something is wrong, but she looks like me. Or as my mother says, I look like her.”
“And she’s coming tomorrow?”
“Yes.” Rikki groaned. “She’s sharing a room with me.”
I know. She’s having a nurse. So, like what? The nurse will also be in my room? It doesn’t make sense.”
“What did your mother say?”
“I didn’t ask her about the technicalities, but she said it’s temporary.”
“Okay, at least that.”
“Ruchie, you wouldn’t believe it, but my parents were with her for most of her surgeries, and I never even knew they left the city. You know how that makes me feel?” She didn’t wait for a response. “Horrible!” She folded her arms. “I mean, my mother has a whole album of pictures of her! It’s almost as if my mother has this whole other life I never knew about.”
Ruchie sat quietly while Rikki unloaded.
“Can you believe it? Fifteen years!” Rikki stopped to breathe.
“Rikki Dee,” Ruchie said, “I know you’re upset, but you’re also being supersensitive. It sounds like they were protecting you.”
“From what?” She rolled her eyes. “You sound like my mother.”
“Maybe for shidduch reasons, I don’t know.”
“I thought of that, but why? Plenty of people have sick people in their families, and mostly everyone eventually gets married. I mean, Hashem is the Shadchan, right?”
“I know that,” Ruchie said. “But what else would they protect you from?”
“Unless whatever Chaya has is hereditary.”
Ruchie’s eyes grew large. “You think it is?”
“My parents literally promised me that it’s not, but I’m not so sure.”
“They wouldn’t lie to you!”
“Come on, Rikki, keeping a secret and openly lying are two different things.”
“I’m not so sure.”
“Anyway,” Ruchie said, “it is kind of exciting, if you think about it.”
“I know, that’s the crazy part. Part of me can’t wait to meet her, and the other part of me doesn’t want her to come.”
“I also want to meet her.”
“You will.” Rikki took a deep breath and held it for a second. “Okay, let’s get something to eat and change the subject.
“Okay,” Ruchie said when they were settled in the kitchen. “Are you joining Share and Care?”
“Are you?” Rikki’s voice was defensive.
“Why? What do you need chizuk for?”
“Hello, Rikki Dee, I may not have a hidden sister somewhere, but I also could use chizuk for something.”
“Really? What? We tell each other everything.” Rikki brought a cake to the table and cut two slices.
“That looks so good.”
“It is. It’s like this mocha, fudgy thing.”
“Okay, tell me.” Rikki said after taking a bite.
Ruchie’s eyes filled.
“Oh my gosh, Ruchie! What is it?”
“Remember I told you that my father is having this court case? Well, I don’t know what’s going on, but now my parents are whispering all the time, and my father is extra nervous. I’m really scared something bad is going to happen.”
“Like, maybe my father really is at fault, and he’ll lose the case. I mean, he’s my father so I believe he’s innocent, but you always hear these crazy stories.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 788)