“There’s nothing wrong with your room. It was nice of Devory to share it with you”
“He really used to cry?” Miri asked Benny. “That’s so sad.”
Benny put down his empty glass. “Every night, in his room. It always made me scared. Devory also got scared when he cried.”
“For sure,” Miri agreed. “I always get scared when my mother cries. She used to cry a lot. It’s one of my worst things in the whole world.”
“Mine too, only it’s my father. I don’t really remember my mother too much,” Benny said. “She was sick for a long time, and in the hospital.”
Miri grappled with the rush of sadness that unexpectedly engulfed her. She couldn’t even begin to imagine not remembering her mother.
Benny poured himself another glass of juice. “Do you remember your father?”
“Yes. I was almost nine when he was niftar.”
“Right. So, you know that nine is pretty big.”
“Of course!” Benny’s chest puffed out.
The front door opened and Mrs. Weiss’s heels could be heard on the marble floor in the entrance hall.
Miri jumped up from her chair. “Ma’s home… I mean—” She blushed.
“It’s okay. I’m not Devory.”
They both laughed.
“Hi, kids,” Mrs. Weiss said. “Sounds nice in here.” She placed her purse on the counter. “I like to hear you kids laugh. Where is everyone?”
“Devory’s in her room,” Benny said. “Probably on the phone, as usual. Eli is coloring.”
“Thanks for the update, Benny. How was your day in school?”
“Okay. What’s for dinner? I’m starving.”
“How about we order pizza?”
“Yes! I’m going to tell Malky!”
Mrs. Weiss chuckled as he ran out of the kitchen. “Doesn’t take much to make him happy. He’s a good kid.”
“He is. We had a nice talk.”
“Really? About what?”
“I’m glad you two get along,” Mrs. Weiss said. “How was it at your friend’s house?”
“You should invite her over.”
“I will, but not yet.”
“What are you waiting for?”
“I don’t know. I’m just not ready yet.”
“I guess I understand.”
Her mother understood! Miri felt light as a feather. Without warning, the turmoil within began to wane somewhat. She suddenly became animated. “Ma, you have to see Shoshi’s room. It’s amazing. I never saw anything so stunning. I wish I had a room like that.”
“Why? There’s nothing wrong with your room. It was nice of Devory to share it with you.”
The featherlike feeling instantly tuned to lead, and Miri landed with a thud.
Oblivious, her mother pulled a small, white bag from her purse on the counter. “Guess what I bought today?”
Miri recognized the gold, cursive letters scrolled across the bag. Her spirits rose once again. “Thanks, Ma! But you usually buy Tatty’s Chocolate on Rosh Chodesh.”
“I know, but when I saw it, I couldn’t resist.”
Miri was glad. Anytime her mother bought her father’s favorite chocolates, a.k.a. Tatty’s Chocolate, it brought back wonderful memories.
Mrs. Weiss opened a cabinet and placed the bag inside. “I better hide these from everyone. I bought them for Ta, for Shabbos. I know he has a sweet tooth.”
The floor gave way beneath the weight of the lead crushing her, and Miri fell right through.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 787)