| Double Dance |

Double Dance: Chapter 46

“Being angry all the time takes a lot of effort, and it uses up so much of your energy, you don’t have much strength left for anything else”


Shoshi couldn’t sleep. She thought about the afternoon out with her mother and sister. The start had been awkward. The atmosphere had been more like a waiting room in a doctor’s office than a mother-daughter outing.

“So,” Shoshi had exclaimed after several minutes of total silence. “This is really nice, huh?”

Both her mother and Yocheved had turned toward her in the back seat, their expressions identical.

Shoshi had looked from mother to sister and burst out laughing. Her mother had laughed before Yocheved, but then Yocheved laughed too.

With the ice broken, the outing had turned out to be enjoyable, for the most part. It wasn’t easy finding topics of conversation. Shoshi wished she could bring up the issues that bothered her about her Share and Care pen pal, but she knew it would upset her mother and sister.

Yocheved had done her job, making conversation by complaining about how quickly her ice cream melted and that she didn’t have enough whipped cream.

Shoshi smiled. You had to love her!

Now, lying in bed, she turned onto her side and stared at the cocoon-chair that hung in the corner of the room. Had her mother ever tried it while she was away at school? Shoshi squeezed her eyes shut, trying to remember if she had ever invited her mother into her room or if her mother had ever come in on her own.

Her eyes opened. She didn’t have to think too hard. She hadn’t. Shoshi’s lips pressed into a determined line. Things were definitely going to change.


Devory tossed in bed, unable to get comfortable. The day had been okay. She grinned. Okay, so it was actually nice. The start had been awkward, but that hadn’t lasted too long. She and her stepmother had eaten lunch together. Nothing fancy. Macaroni and cheese, but it had been so good. Everything, not just the pasta.

“Tell me, Devory,” her stepmother had said over a forkful of bubbling cheese, “would it make things easier for you if Miri shared a room with Malky?”


“I was going to tell you to think about it, but I guess I got my answer.”


“I don’t have to think about it.”
“Okay,” her stepmother inclined her head. “I’ll speak to Miri. She may like the idea too.”

Devory was thankful that her stepmother didn’t mention that Miri wasn’t too happy with the current arrangement, either. She concentrated on the food on her plate, hoping to slow or end the conversation. She didn’t want her to think they were best friends.

“You know, Ta told me that you like to dance. Did you ever take any classes?”

“He told you? You mean you speak about me?”

“Devory, we speak about all the children. Does that surprise you?”

“Yes. I mean, I guess, no. I guess it makes sense.”

“I want to know everything about you and your brothers and sisters.”

“Well, Ta doesn’t really know us too well.”

“What makes you say that?”

Devory shrugged a shoulder. “He used to be interested in us. We did fun things and stuff. But he changed after… you know. I guess I can’t blame him.”

She knew she was talking too much, but she couldn’t stop. Her stepmother just had this way about her!

“It hasn’t been easy for you. I know you’re still mourning, Devory. She’s your mother. You’ll always miss her, no matter how old you are.”

Devory blinked. No one had ever said that to her before. The comments had always been, be strong, your family needs you now, or things will get better, give it time. Many people had told her to be happy, her mother would want that, but the well-meaning comment infuriated her. How could anyone know what her mother would want?

“I do miss her,” her voice was choked. “I think about her all the time.”

“I know you do.” Mrs. Weiss’s eyes pooled with sympathy. “Devory, can I ask you something private? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

“Okay, I guess.”

“Do you feel that if we have a relationship, you’re not being loyal to your mother?”

Devory’s throat was clogged with grief. She stirred the cheesy pasta around her plate, trying to get her voice to work.

“I know this is going to sound cliché,” Mrs. Weiss said, “and I can’t tell you what your mother would want, but if it were Miri who had a stepmother, I’d want them to get along.” Mrs. Weiss shook her head, “No, I take that back. I would want them to more than get along. I’d want them to have a warm relationship.”

Devory couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her stepmother wasn’t pretending or assuming to know what her mother wanted. She wasn’t like everyone else.

“It’s hard,” Mrs. Weiss said, “to know you’ll never see a parent again. My mother’s name was Miriam. She died right before Miri was born, but there isn’t a day that I don’t think about her or miss her.”

Devory looked up from her plate, her voice suddenly working. “I didn’t know that your mother was niftar.”

“My father was also, when I was younger.”

“Oh, no! How old were you?”


“Oh my gosh!”

“His name was Levi. I always wanted to name a son after him. Who knows, maybe one day.”

A trace of excitement rippled through Devory at the thought.

“It hasn’t been easy,” her stepmother said, “but I like to think of myself as a fighter. You know what I mean?”

“I think so.”

“You’re a fighter too.”

“Right,” Devory smirked. “I fight with everyone.”

Mrs. Weiss laughed. “You know that’s not what I meant.”

“I know,” Devory grinned. “But I’m not really a fighter. It’s too hard. It’s so much easier to just be the way I am.”

“I disagree. Being angry all the time takes a lot of effort, and it uses up so much of your energy, you don’t have much strength left for anything else.”

Devory knew it was true.

“I don’t know. Maybe you’re right.”

“I didn’t say I’m right; I just don’t agree that it’s easier. It’s something to think about.”

Mrs. Weiss smiled. “Some more macaroni?”

“No, thanks. I’m stuffed.”

“So am I.” Mrs. Weiss stood up and began to clear the table. Devory picked up her plate and

placed it in the sink.

“Thanks, Devory. You know,” she said over her shoulder as she washed the dishes. “Ta told me some really nice things about your mother.”

“No way!”

“Yes, he did. She was a very special person.”

“She was.” Devory leaned against the counter. “She was really amazing.”

“I wish I could have met her. It sounds like she was very much my speed. I think we would have actually been friends.”

Devory studied her stepmother’s profile. How could her hard feeling toward her have changed in what seemed a heartbeat? Maybe it was because deep down, she had known the truth all along. Her stepmother was special too. She could totally see her and her mother hitting it off. It was almost a shame they never met.

I like to think of myself as a fighter, her stepmother had said. But Devory thought otherwise. Her stepmother wasn’t a fighter. She was a peacemaker. And an amazing one at that.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 825)

Oops! We could not locate your form.