| Double Dance |

Double Dance: Chapter 12


“Chaya,” Mrs. Levy coaxed her to open her eyes. “Welcome home. We’re all so happy you’re here"

"You see,” Avi said, “she doesn’t have eyes. I told you.”

“They’re just closed,” Mrs. Levy said. “Chaya does that when something scares her.”

“Why is she scared?” Ezra said. “Doesn’t she like ice cream cake?”

“I’m sure she does, but she doesn’t really know us or the house.”

Rikki stood to the side. Chaya’s arrival had been disastrous and heartbreaking. It began at the bottom of the stairs outside, and had gone steadily downhill.

Mr. Levy had climbed the steps with 15-year-old Chaya cradled in his arms. “I’ll get the wheelchair after I put Chaya down.”

“That’s okay, I think I can get it up the stairs.” Mrs. Levy said.

“We have to have a ramp installed ASAP,” Mr. Levy said.

Mrs. Levy had struggled with the wheelchair. “I didn’t really have too much advance notice to prepare for everything.”

“I wasn’t being reproachful, Rena. I said ‘we.’”

Rikki wondered what reproachful meant, but felt the tension in the air nonetheless.

Chaya hid her face in her father’s shirt and stayed that way until Mrs. Levy finally managed to lug the wheelchair up the stairs.

She blew a loose sheitel hair from her face. “Rikki,” she said, then took a breath, “will you get the front door, please?”

Rikki had rushed to open it, and the tension followed them indoors.

“Chaya,” Mrs. Levy coaxed her to open her eyes. “Welcome home. We’re all so happy you’re here.’ She pointed to the drawings hanging in the hallway. “Look at the pretty pictures Avi and Ezra made for you.” But Chaya sat with her eyes closed and her fists pressed to her cheeks. Mrs. Levy looked at her husband for help.

“We have a surprise for you, Chaya,” he tried. He wheeled her into the kitchen. “Wait until you see it.”

You see,” Avi said, “She doesn’t have eyes. I told you.”

“They’re just closed,” Mrs. Levy repeated. “Chaya does that when something scares her.”

“Why is she scared?” Ezra said. “Doesn’t she like ice cream cake?”

“I’m sure she does,” Mrs. Levy said, “but she doesn’t really know us or the house.”

“Rikki set the table so nicely, Chaya,” Mr. Levy tried again. “If you open your eyes, you’ll see the yummy surprise.”

They waited, but Chaya didn’t react.

“Chaya,” Mr. Levy said.

Chaya’s lower lip trembled, and she let out a wail.

“Oh, no, sweetie,” Mrs. Levy placed a comforting hand on Chaya’s shoulder. “It’s okay.” But tears trickled from Chaya’s closed eyes nonetheless.

Mrs. Levy crouched down in front of her and placed a hand on her daughter’s knee. “It’s okay, sweetie. I know you’re scared.” She stroked Chaya’s cheek, and wiped away a tear. Chaya pushed her mother’s hand away, but still her eyes remained closed.

Mrs. Levy looked up at her husband. “This isn’t going to be easy.”

“Give it time.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 790)

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