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Double Dance: Chapter 16

Tell her no! Be natural like you would be before Chaya came home”

R

ikki unwrapped her sandwich. “It was like a scene from Helen Keller. What a mess Chaya made.”

Ruchie laughed. “Maybe you’d better hire Anne Sullivan to teach her.”

“Ruchie Friedman! This is serious.”

“I’m sorry.” Ruchie covered her smile with her hand. “That was so mean of me, but I’m picturing yogurt dripping from the ceiling, and your poor mother’s ruined sheitel.”

“I know, but my mother is amazing. I don’t know how she has such patience. I was ready to scream. I think I even did.”

“I guess your mother has patience because she’s the mother.”

“Probably.”

The girls nibbled at their lunches, and Rikki veered the conversation away from the morning’s mishap.  “Aaanyways, Matti wants to come over tonight. That would be, like, a total disaster. What am I supposed to tell her?”

Ruchie looked pensive. “Um… let me think a sec.” She tapped her lips with the tip of her index finger. “I know! Tell her you’re coming to my house.”

Rikki broke out in a smile. “Perfect… oh,” her forehead creased, “I’m not sure if I can. My mother may need my help. Things are super crazy now.”

“Ugh, I just remembered that I have a haircut appointment right after school, anyway,” Ruchie said. “I have to rush out the second the bell rings.”

Rikki pulled her ponytail to the front of her shoulder. “I also need a haircut, but I doubt my mother will be able to come with me.” She fixed a sugary smile on her face. “Sooo, how do I get out of having Matti over?”

“Maybe she won’t see Chaya.”

Rikki shook her head. “That’s going to be impossible. The nurse is there, and Chaya isn’t in bed. She’s not sick like that. She’s in her wheelchair and wheels herself around the house.”

“Really? She’s able to do that?”

“She moves slowly, but she gets where she wants to go, eventually. I mean, it’s really only downstairs. We don’t bring the wheelchair upstairs. My father carries her down in the morning, and upstairs at night… until we have a special chair-lift thing installed.”

“Everything seems so complicated.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Maybe you should tell the girls about her, Rikki Dee. It’s going to be hard to keep her a secret much longer.”

“I can’t.”

“I mean, it’s up to you. I’m just saying…”

“Please tell me what to tell Matti. That’s my main concern right now.”

“I don’t know. Tell her no! Be natural like you would be before Chaya came home. If you weren’t able to have her over, you would have just told her so. Why should she suspect anything now?”

“Because you told me the girls were asking you what’s wrong with me.”

“That’s because you were acting weird.”

“How about now?”

“Better, but still not totally normal. But definitely not as weird as before.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 794)

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