Shoshi pulled the Share and Care envelope from her book bag and waved it in the air. “I think you should join”
i, Ma!” Shoshi shouted. There was no response. She kicked the shoes on the floor to the side. “I guess she’s not home. Want a drink?”
“Okay.” Miri followed Shoshi, getting a quick glimpse of the disorder in the living room and dining room. She looked around the cluttered kitchen while Shoshi rummaged through the fridge. The dishes in the sink looked as though they had been there a while, and so did the scraps of dried food on the counter. Miri was surprised. Shoshi seemed so put together. Shoshi closed the refrigerator door and sighed. “No soda or juice. Is water okay?”
“I’ll get some water bottles from the basement.” When she returned empty-handed, Miri said it was fine. She followed Shoshi to the back of the house.
“Don’t mind the dirty clothing. It gets done eventually.”
Miri stepped over shirts and pants on the floor in the hallway.
Shoshi led the way to a closed door at the end of the hall and opened it widely. “This is my room. Make yourself comfortable.”
“Wow!” Miri turned her head in an almost 180-degree angle. “It’s really nice in here.” She had expected the room to look like the others, but this was the polar opposite.
“Yeah, I’m a neat freak.” Shoshi said. She closed the door. “I also decorated it myself. That’s where all my babysitting money goes.”
“It’s amazing! You should, like, totally be an interior decorator one day.”
“I’ve actually thought about it.”
Miri sat down on Shoshi’s bed. “From the looks of all your stuff, you must babysit a lot.”
“Since I’m ten, and every chance I get.”
“I don’t like babysitting, unless it’s for Eli.”
“Not me. I love it. It gets me out of the house. Who’s Eli, by the way?”
“My stepbrother. He’s four, totally adorable, and special.”
“Special as in everyone is special, or special as in, you know, special?”
“He’s a kid with Down syndrome.”
“Oh. It must be weird.”
“Having a special stepbrother?”
“No, having stepsiblings. I know some other kids who have special-needs siblings, but no one who has stepsiblings. It’s like, one day you don’t even know who they are, and then, boom, the next day, you’re one big happy family.”
Happy? “It is kind of weird. I’m still getting used to it. It’s not so… whatever.”
“Nothing. It doesn’t matter.”
Shoshi didn’t push for an answer, and Miri was glad to let it slide.
Shoshi pulled the Share and Care envelope from her book bag and waved it in the air. “I think you should join.”
“What makes you think I have a reason to join?”
“Everyone has something. Just saying.”
Miri sighed. “Well, maybe I’m the exception to the rule.”
“What? The way Devory didn’t even notice you before? I don’t think so, but it’s your life. Do whatever you want.”
“Thanks for your permission.”
Shoshi opened her closet and pulled two water bottles from the shelf. She tossed one to Miri.
“Super weird place to keep water bottles.”
“Maybe in your house.” Shoshi untwisted the cap. “But not in mine.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 785)