| Dream On |

Dream On: Chapter 47  

Tammy hesitated. They’d just shared a moment; maybe this was the chance she’d been looking for to open up their relationship



Tammy fidgeted in her seat as she watched Sarah, one of her new Yad b’Yad tutoring clients, frowning over her English essay.

She let her eyes slide along the clean white walls of the room and settle on the window, which overlooked the front of the building.

Two girls were walking up the path. As they came closer, Tammy gave a little start: it was ZeeZee and Ilana. She strained her neck to watch them until they disappeared from her vision, then sighed as she turned back to Sarah.

“Something wrong?” the girl asked.


While Sarah proceeded to cross out most of what she’d already written, Tammy picked up a pen and began to doodle on a blank piece of paper. She wasn’t surprised to see ZeeZee here, despite the fact that she’d been banned from coming. Banned.

She still couldn’t get over how such experienced chinuch professionals like Rabbi Freund and Mrs. Edelman could have made such a shortsighted decision. When Mrs. Edelman had told Tammy about it, she’d had to clench her teeth together to stop herself from voicing her objection. She couldn’t afford to misstep, certainly not in this case, where she was still anxiously trying to demonstrate that she’d in no way suggested, approved, or encouraged ZeeZee’s involvement with Yad b’Yad.

And what about you, Tam? She questioned now, as her pen absently sketched a girl with wide-open eyes and a ponytail. Do you always make the right decisions?

She’d regretted her reaction as soon as she’d hung up the phone with ZeeZee last night. It was beyond clear that ZeeZee had been feeding her a story about some emergency at her cousins, and she had a feeling ZeeZee also knew that Tammy saw through the tale. But the girl had to play the game by saying something, and Tammy chose to be complicit by accepting the excuse. Had ZeeZee known she would?

And did that make her a brilliant pedagogue or a criminally negligent one?

She drew the outline of a sweater as she wondered whether to confront ZeeZee now or ignore the fact she’d seen her. Surely ZeeZee needed someone to confide in if she was going through some sort of crisis; better Tammy than some OTD Yad b’Yad girl.

But if Shvilei found out when she was already in hot water with the hanhalah…

Frustrated, she balled up her paper and threw it at the wastepaper basket. She missed.

“Ouch. That was bad.” Sarah was looking up from her essay, which was now completely covered with crossed-out lines, and shook her head at Tammy’s shot. With a mischievous grin, she took her sheet, scrunched it into a ball, and arced it neatly into the basket.

“Okay, you win.” Tammy laughed. “But your essay!”

“Garbage.” Sarah eyed her. “What’re you ticked off about?”

Tammy hesitated. They’d just shared a moment; maybe this was the chance she’d been looking for to open up their relationship. But… just a few days ago Rikki had stood in this very room and warned her about boundaries.

She looked down at her hands. Her instincts had always served her well in life. Why did it feel recently that she could no longer trust them?

Tammy pasted a smile on her face. “Everything’s great with me. But your essay’s in the garbage. How about we start a new one together?”

ZeeZee sat with her back against the foot of the couch, picking out the chords for “Thank You Hashem” on the guitar.

“Hey, that’s actually good!” Dafna said, looking up from her phone.

Ilana, sitting next to ZeeZee, said, “I wouldn’t say good. But getting better.”

ZeeZee grinned. “No more screeching cats?”

“Now you’re at howling dogs,” she said with a wink.

“Hah, you just don’t want to admit what an awesome teacher you are.” ZeeZee strummed loudly. “Maybe you can put that in your ad. ‘Go from screeching cats to howling dogs in only two months!’”

“I know who I won’t be hiring to do my PR.”

ZeeZee focused once more on the guitar strings. At some point, she’d have to go back to the dorm; she couldn’t get away with the fake cousin excuse two nights in a row. But for now, she was enjoying this feeling of utter freedom. Nobody watching to make sure she was doing the right thing, nobody judging her. She eyed Ilana, with her five earrings and short-short sleeves (she’d pulled off her sweater as soon as they’d returned from Devoiry’s store) and for the first time allowed herself to wonder how she’d ended up befriending these girls… and why she felt so much more comfortable with them than with the girls in her own seminary.

Scared by the thought, she quickened her strumming.

The door to the lounge opened and a girl who was new to Yad b’Yad — Sari, or maybe Sarah — walked in.

“Well, I’m finished with that stupid English essay,” she announced as she sank down on the couch and pulled out her phone. “Dafna, Tammy said you can come in.”

ZeeZee lifted her head up sharply as Ilana smirked at her. “Your eim bayit’s working here now. Did you know that?”

ZeeZee felt that weight of betrayal once again. “Is she the Mommy for you guys, too? Cookie Mondays?” She didn’t know why, but the thought of Mrs. Hurwitz getting cozy with these girls made her incredibly bitter.

“Cookie Mondays?” Ilana snorted. “What do you think we are, a flaky seminary? No, she’s a tutor.”

ZeeZee tried to picture Mrs. Hurwitz teaching girls to do algebra or correct their grammar. The idea seemed odd.

Seized with a crazy impulse, she jumped up.

“Hold on a sec, Dafna. I want to go in.” What would Mrs. Hurwitz say when she saw ZeeZee there? What could she say? Let Mrs. Hurwitz squirm her way out of her own hypocrisy.

Dafna pointed out the room, and ZeeZee gave a short knock and walked in. The look of confusion on her eim bayit’s face gave her grim pleasure.

“ZeeZee… what are you doing here?” Mrs. Hurwitz’s cheeks were red. “I thought—” She coughed slightly.

ZeeZee stepped forward. “You thought I’d be a good little girl and listen to Rabbi Freund when he told me never to come here again? That it was only kosher for you to work here, but treif for me?” She breathed heavily, as the resentment washed over her like a tidal wave.

Mrs. Hurwitz blinked, then seemed to rally. “No,” she said with a small smile. “I thought you were busy helping your cousins with a family emergency.”

ZeeZee stopped at that, and laughed despite herself, her anger deflating. “Good one, Mrs. H.,” she admitted. “You got me.” She walked further into the room. “Okay, so I lied. You’re not gonna tell Rabbi Freund, are you?”

Mrs. Hurwitz rubbed her cheek. “No, I’m not. But that doesn’t make what you’re doing right.” She pulled out the chair next to her. “Wanna talk about where you actually were for the past two days?”

ZeeZee hesitated for just a moment. The truth was that she did want to talk about it. She badly wanted to speak out her anger at the seminary staff, at her family, at every adult in her life who thought they knew better than her.

“Okay,” she said at last. She told Mrs. Hurwitz about coming to Yad b’Yad, spending the night at Ilana’s house, and going with her to work this morning.

“You went with her to the store?” Mrs. Hurwitz leaned forward. “How was it? Does Ilana seem to enjoy it there?”

ZeeZee raised an eyebrow, wondering about Mrs. H.’s interest in Ilana’s job. “Yeah, she loves it. It’s this upscale accessory store, and Ilana’s crazy about the lady who owns it.”

Mrs. Hurwitz smiled. “I’m glad to hear.”

Talking about the store brought back the terror of that odd phone call this morning, and especially, Devoiry’s extreme reaction. After her initial moment of fright, she’d recovered and laughed it off. But ZeeZee hadn’t been completely convinced.

Now, wondering if Mrs. Hurwitz would have any insight, she said slowly, “Something weird happened while we were there. It was just a prank phone call, but it creeped all of us out.”

Feeling slightly silly, she relayed what the caller had told Ilana.

Mrs. Hurwitz’s brow was furrowed. “That sounds like more than some kid playing a prank. Did you call the police?”

ZeeZee frowned. “No, Devoiry — the owner — didn’t want us to. In fact, she reacted really strangely.” She described what had happened.

To her surprise, Mrs. Hurwitz seemed intensely interested in the incident. “Wait, tell me again. What did the man say? It was a man, right?”

ZeeZee repeated the details again, and Mrs. Hurwitz even jotted down some notes. At last, she stood up.

“It’s good you told me this. If you’ll excuse me, I need to make a phone call now.”

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 765)

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