| Family Tempo |

Fair Share     

We’d always been best friends — until I learned one secret too many


It’s always the strangest detail that attaches itself to a memory, so that when you recall it, that little thing overshadows your thinking.

When I think about Shayna’s parents, I think of my olive-green sweatshirt with those snap buckles on the cuffs.

Shayna and I were the kind of friends people referred to by one name — Shayna Libby. We were on the phone all day and all night and did practically everything together. When my alarm clock broke in the 11th grade, I didn’t bother replacing it; I knew I could rely on Shayna’s phone call every morning to wake me up. I had the cordless on speaker while I brushed my teeth, and then, to my mother’s consternation, we “had breakfast” together on the phone.

Shayna was the first to know when I lost or gained a quarter of a pound, I was in the loop about every one of her sister’s dates, we even shared some of our clothing. On Friday, we spoke all the way up to the zeman, then we got together Shabbos afternoon, and the minute Shabbos was out, we were on the phone again.

“Don’t you ever run out of things to discuss?” my mother would ask in bewilderment. I couldn’t explain it. Shayna was like one of my limbs. We supported each other through every challenge in our lives, we felt comfortable sharing our most embarrassing flaws.

But we didn’t only have DMCs. We shared e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, every stupid thought that crossed our minds, so that some of our conversations were simply our brains thinking out loud. There was nothing I didn’t know about Shayna, and she in turn knew everything about me.

Shayna had actually been the one to pick up that olive-green sweatshirt for me. I wore it for the first time that night in Fudge, during our 12th-grade midwinter break. I remember her pointing out that I’d forgotten to tear the tag off and offering her teeth to remove it. I’d declined, tucking it in instead, because I loved the feel of “new” and preferred to keep it that way until the sweater’s first wash.

We’d ordered our treats — me, a butter pecan scoop, and Shayna her regular vanilla-chocolate mix with cookie crumbs — and found a quiet table in the back.

I innocently started eating, careful not to get my sweatshirt dirty. Of course, when you concentrate on staying clean, your ice cream will drip. I groaned and reached for some napkins.

That’s when Shayna started talking.

“You know my father is out of a job.”

I didn’t know. She’d never mentioned a word before.

Sympathy kicked in, but as she continued speaking, I realized that this revelation was the smallest of her troubles. Living without an income for so many months had taken a toll on everything — including her parents’ marriage.

I forgot about my ice cream. I forgot about the stain on my sweatshirt. My fingers settled on the snap buckles on the sweatshirt cuffs. I must have snapped and unsnapped those buckles a thousand times as my friend described the nightmare that had become her life. And that snapping, that strange, random detail, etched itself deeply in my brain cells, enmeshed with Shayna’s voice.

It was our senior year, and we’d both been accepted to Bnos Rivka seminary. Now Shayna revealed that she’d never sent a deposit. “My parents told me I could go, they’d figure out how to make it work, but seriously, I’m not blind. How can I fly off to Eretz Yisrael when I see them rationing cholent meat?” There was a bitterness in her voice that gave me goose bumps. “Although believe me, the last place I want to be is home, with my mother stewing at my father, and my father threatening you-don’t-want-to-know-what.” She sank into her seat, spent.

I didn’t want to know what. Who would imagine what a financial challenge could do to a family? The Langers had always been such normal people. I’d spent hours and hours at their house; there had always been such a healthy, warm environment. The idea of raised voices in that house, of Shayna’s parents fighting, was absurd.

I had no idea what to say. Really, there was nothing to say. And Shayna didn’t need me to say anything, she only needed me to listen. Through my shock, I had a hard time doing even that.

We walked home in silence. When we got to Shayna’s house, I observed the neat landscaping, the lamp on the front porch glowing over a wrought-iron bench. Everything screamed perfect. Lovely family, lovely home. Who would’ve thought? I couldn’t believe it.

I offered Shayna a hug. “I’m here for you,” I whispered. “Stay strong.”

When I got home, my mother asked if everything was okay. I shrugged and slunk into my room, where I sat, snapping and unsnapping my sweatshirt cuff buckles for a long, long time.

True to my word, I was there for Shayna. I was there for her when she did the supermarket run because nobody else would. I was there for her when she shopped for her baby sister. “She outgrew all her stuff, but my mother says we can’t afford new things for her.” Shayna paid for the clothing with her own money, and my heart broke.

I was there for her when she urgently needed to get away, somewhere very far and very noisy, to block out the emotional tumult in her brain. It was during Nissan, when we were off from school, and I had no way to explain to my mother why I needed to go to the mall. I made up a story about going to help a dysfunctional family and told myself it was partially true, because Shayna’s life had become the closest thing to dysfunctional. I felt horrible, but I knew Shayna expected me to be discreet. How could I violate her trust by sharing this with my mother?

Neither of us bought anything. We just walked and talked and walked and talked until we were so exhausted we collapsed into massage chairs, sitting until we were chased away. When I got back, my mother gave me a whole “chesed begins at home speech,” and I wanted to cry and tell her how I would’ve preferred to stay home and cook for Pesach over listening to stories about Shayna’s harrowing life. It was not a fun day for anyone.

And Shayna knew I was always available. I kept my cell phone on vibrate near my bed so she could call me anytime. She did, once at four a.m., sobbing into the phone. “They’re fighting again. It’s the middle of the night, and I hear them arguing. I’m so scared, Libby.”

I was scared, too. I didn’t know what to say, so I just listened and sighed and made what I hoped were soothing sounds. Then, first thing in the morning, I ran to her house and took her out for coffee.

“How will I cope next year, when you’re in seminary?” Shayna brooded.

“Don’t think that way. Im yirtzeh Hashem, your father will find a new job, things will settle down between your parents, maybe you’ll still end up in Eretz Yisrael.” I started humming “The Sun Will Yet Shine,” one of our color war theme songs.

Shayna laughed darkly. “My parents….”

I looked at my friend, took note of her sickly complexion. I stopped humming abruptly, and my stomach hollowed out. When would this nightmare end?

IT was during finals that things got really bad.

Considering this was our last round of high school finals, many of my classmates took things easy. They were one foot into their next stage in life, and these tests were a nuisance. Me, I didn’t feel like slacking off. I’d always been a diligent student, and I was determined to give these finals my all, to finish high school off on a successful note.

The night before our Navi final, Shayna called at 11. I immediately sensed that something was wrong. By now, I’d grown accustomed to Shayna’s tears, but this felt different.

“What happened?” I asked, afraid to breathe.

She sobbed hysterically in response.

It took a long time to calm her down. Finally, she coughed out what was happening. “My father didn’t come home after Maariv last night, and he still isn’t back. I have no idea where he went. I’m so scared. What’s happening with my family?”

More tears. This was a whole new monster.

I paced my room as she described the wretched state of affairs at home. The arguing and the pouting. Her father lounging around, getting in her mother’s hair; him glowering and her sulking and the baby screaming and grilled cheese, grilled cheese, grilled cheese for supper. Her mother waving the butcher balance before her father’s eyes, her father defending himself in wince-inducing terms. It was so awful, I wished I could do something to make it all go away.

An hour passed, and Shayna was still going strong. My eyes fell on my Navi. The test was on a lot of material, and I’d barely started studying. The day was disappearing, I had to get cracking if I wanted to do well.

Shayna’s heavy breathing rustled in my ear, and guilt crept up my throat. How could I let my selfish desire for good grades get in my way of being a friend? How could I care about school while Shayna suffered?

I stayed on the phone for another hour, and then another. “I know it’s shallow to even think this way,” Shayna confided at one point, “but if anything happens….” I heard her shudder. “I won’t be able to face the world.”

“Nothing’s happening,” I said.

She wasn’t easily assured, and we spent the next hour discussing the whole humiliation thing, what it would mean for her, what it would do to her family’s name and her chances at shidduchim.

We finally hung up to get ready for bed, and then Shayna called again, picking up where she’d left off.

I flunked the final, and a week later, squirmed at Mrs. Weisenfeld’s questioning face as she returned my test, feeling horrible for the regret I felt.

A test was only a test.

Still, I couldn’t help the sour mood that overtook me, and when I arrived home, I just wanted to go to my room and sulk.

My mother caught me in the kitchen.

“Regards from Aviva Langer.”

“Shayna’s mother?” I stammered. “You spoke to her?”

“Yes, I met her in the grocery today, and boy, I sure could tell she has a daughter in shidduchim. She literally has stress circles under her eyes. When are you turning 18 again, sweetie?”

Phew. Above suspicion.

Stress from shidduchim, ha. If you only knew what a wreck that woman is…. I forced a chuckle. “Yeah, Shayna says her parents are very stressed about her sister’s shidduchim.” My words came out in a quick breath, and I escaped the kitchen before the questioning continued.

Who cared about Navi finals? The Langer family was falling apart.

I sat on my bed doing nothing, crippled by my utter helplessness.

Deep down, I knew that Shayna needed professional help.

My friend was in a bad place. I knew it from the things she told me, but it was becoming outwardly evident. She’d lost weight, and her complexion had turned undeniably yellow. She also paid little attention to her appearance. Just when our classmates were starting to dress up a little, my best friend was suddenly looking frumpy.

One morning, around three months since that fateful night in Fudge when the world had turned upside down, I tried calling Shayna and couldn’t get through. I kept trying, until she finally answered at two p.m.

“Where were you all day?” I asked.

“You really want to know? I was sleeping.”

This was Shayna, whom I’d always teased about having the strength of a bear. She never slept in, she couldn’t understand the pleasure.

“You were sleeping,” I echoed. “Until now?”

This was bad. Really, really bad. Shayna needed help, urgently. But my friend had so much pride, I was afraid she would take my suggestion the wrong way.

Then the opportunity came up, and I gathered the courage to say what I felt.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” I said, “but I think it would be helpful if you spoke to someone about what’s been going on. Someone who can guide you a little, help you figure stuff out, you know….”

“I should speak to a shrink?” She looked at me with hostile eyes. “Aha. So you’ve had enough of me and my problems.”

Her voice dripped venom.

I never brought it up again.

After that, things changed. I didn’t notice it right away, but as time passed, I sensed a growing distance. I also realized that Shayna shared less about what was going on at home.

I was afraid I’d hurt her with my suggestion. At the end of the summer, a few days before I would be leaving to seminary, I decided to approach her about it.

We were walking together on Shabbos afternoon, chatting about random things, when I slowed my pace and tried to make eye contact with her.

“How are things, Shayna?”

“Good, why are you asking?”

Uh, really now. She had no idea why I was asking. Right.

But I was willing to forgive the stab. I knew how much my friend was suffering, I couldn’t blame her for developing a little edge.

I swallowed my discomfort and said what had to be said. “I don’t know if I ever did or said anything wrong, Shayna. But you know I’m always ready to listen.”

She didn’t respond, so I decided to step on it.

“How are your parents doing these days?”

She clicked her heels on the sidewalk and swung her hair back. “My parents? Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it anymore, ‘kay?”

Good thing there was so much to take care of over the next few days, before my flight to Eretz Yisrael. Keeping busy allowed me to push my confusion aside, so instead of reeling from the blow, I shopped and packed and visited my grandparents to say goodbye, then shopped and packed some more.

For her part, Shayna pretended that nothing had ever come between us. She called every day to chat, typical BFF style. Those chats were a strain. It was hard to go back to life before the grand reveal, awkward and stupid, knowing that we both knew what we knew. So I kept concocting excuses as to why I wasn’t available. What else could I do, except carefully sidestep the eggshells she’d strewn between us?

The night before I left, Shayna showed up at my house with a funny little goodbye gift — a growth chart and a wacky poem. I understood it was her way of telling me we were moving on, sealing everything she’d shared with me as though it had never happened. I played along, giggling over her gift, and warning her to watch out, I was going to return home a practical giant.

It was only when my seatbelt was buckled, and I felt the vibrations of the plane’s wheels, that my protective wall came down. For the first time since my Shabbos walk with Shayna, I admitted the truth.

I was hurt.

No matter what had happened in Shayna’s life, no matter the reason for her change of heart, she’d trampled on my feelings by cutting me out, dismissing me so casually, so suddenly. I’d been there for her through thick and thick and more thick, and she’d shut the door in my face. The cruelty of her behavior seared.

Sitting next to me, Temmy Bauman tried reading into my mood. “Already homesick?” she asked, only half in jest.

I winked in response, then turned my attention out the window. I needed the space to process my feelings.

She didn’t mean to hurt you, a part of me rationalized. She’s only trying to protect herself.

Still, I felt wounded. I’d given Shayna my everything. It hadn’t been fun, listening and comforting and trying my best to guide her, cheer her up. It had been an emotionally exhausting responsibility. And I didn’t expect Shayna’s gratitude, that’s what friends did for each other. But this — this punch in the face, how could I justify it?

Temmy poked my arm. “They’re coming around with lunch.”

“Oh, okay.”

She gave me a questioning look, but I ignored it.

I was probably supposed to justify it. Or at least try to. First step on my growth chart?

I tried to place my injured feelings aside for a moment and focus on the full picture. I knew how much Shayna was suffering. Her sudden change of attitude came from somewhere, and it wasn’t because of anything I’d done. Maybe something terrible had happened, and she’d just crashed. Maybe she decided she couldn’t deal with it anymore and talking to me about it meant dealing with it, so she was simply escaping.

Or maybe… maybe she’d heeded my advice after all and started seeing a therapist?

And if she did, didn’t I owe it to her to respect her space and allow her to engage in the healing process?

The flight attendants reached our row, and Temmy silently passed me my lunch tray. I waved it away. I had food in my carry-on. In any case, I had no appetite.

I couldn’t know where Shayna was holding. But strangely, my hurt feelings somehow cooled. When I replayed that moment Shayna had cut me out of her life, I discovered that it wasn’t venom or nonchalance in her words.

It was fear.

Ididn’t actually use Shayna’s growth chart, but I certainly did a lot of growing over the winter.

It was the teachers and their lessons, of course, but Temmy Bauman played a significant role in my seminary experience. It was a little weird, at first, the way she openly sought friendship. It wasn’t like we hadn’t known each other before: We’d been classmates since the first grade. But in Eretz Yisrael, it was like we’d come from different countries and met up for the first time. Temmy hung around me a lot, making her interest in this relationship obvious.

I didn’t immediately reciprocate. I preferred to keep to myself most of the time, consumed by my worries about Shayna’s family. Shayna and I kept up as though nothing had ever happened, but my conversations with her left me drained as we circled around the untouchable topic of her parents. I was dying to know how things were going but knew too well to ask. Instead, my imagination painted horrific scenes of her parents’ screaming matches, of Tomchei Shabbos delivering food packages, of a cloud of morbidity hanging in the air. I lived on edge, apprehensively waiting for the grim news to break. Forget hurt, forget curiosity. I needed Shayna to assure me that things were improving, that the situation wasn’t as bad as I feared.

But Shayna offered nothing, nothing at all. And because I was so afraid of saying anything wrong, our conversations stayed in boringly safe territory: her job at an accounting firm, her college classes, my sem adventures. It was so terrifically forced, I came to dread our phone calls.

With Temmy, it was almost as though I was afraid to allow myself to get dragged into another close relationship. But slowly, carefully, I made space for her. And it was okay. It was good. It was nice, in fact, to have a plain, normal friend. No drama, nothing intense, just good company with sometimes fun and sometimes deep conversations.

Temmy’s friendship kept me sane that year.

Returning home for Pesach was like a light going on while you’re sleeping, and you furiously blink and squint while your eyes adjust to the brightness.

Seeing my family again was incredible; I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed home — and my mother’s food, of course. But reuniting with Shayna was hard. Meeting my friend made the memories of our endlessly long and harrowing conversations surface starkly. We went through the you-look-amazing-I-missed-you-so-much-how-are-you motions, but it was so, so fake, it made me gag.

I tried to read her face, pick up some clue from her posture. But Shayna was an incredible actress and succeeded in covering up every vestige of her troubles. She looked so perfectly fine, she could’ve fooled me into thinking that her life was peaches and cream.

The only hint that something lurked between us was when I told her, in a rare earnest moment, “I daven for you at the Kosel all the time, Shayna.”

“Thank you, Libby,” she said sincerely. “That means so much to me. It really does.”

Her words were followed by a soft sigh, and a moment later, it was back to casual, back to seminary stories, back to pretending that nothing had ever been.

Two days before Pesach, I was in the home goods store when I met a familiar face: Mrs. Langer.

I was so startled, I nearly dropped the grill pan I was holding.

“Libby!” Mrs. Langer cried. “So nice to see you! How’s it going there in Eretz Yisrael? How many iced coffees does it take to pass a Chumash test?”

I stretched my lips up in what I hoped looked like a grin and managed to chat for a few minutes. Then, as I stood in line to pay, I kept looking back in wonder.

Wow. Just wow. I marveled over how beautifully she presented. Nobody who saw her would guess what was hiding behind the nicely set sheitel and made up face.

But I knew. And seeing her putting on such a great show for the public made the reality that much more pitiful.

The transition from seminary to “real life” was a little frightening, but I made it through, carefully guarding the spiritual arsenal I’d collected.

I broke into education, teaching eighth grade in the morning and tutoring kriah in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much satisfaction I derived from that. Turns out I had a natural language with children, and the feedback from parents was most gratifying.

In fact, that’s how my shidduch came about. It happened during sefirah in my first year back from seminary. One of the girls I tutored had an uncle, and as her mother got to know me, she thought I would make a perfect match for her brother. By Shavuos, Yerachmiel Weinman and I were engaged.

We moved out of town to join a small community kollel and started settling into a routine. Life moves very quickly when you hit your third decade. Before my brain had a chance to register my new last name, I became a mother.

Through it all, I kept up with Shayna. She’d passed her CPAs and had quickly gone from being a staff accountant to a senior accountant to an accounting supervisor. She was single, but we’d been friends for so long, our lives were still woven together. Although we were in such different stages of life and living so far apart, we chatted about everything.

Everything, except for the shalom bayis in her childhood home, of course. And yet, it was always at the forefront in my mind. In case I wanted to forget, people constantly made sure to remind me. Especially with Shayna in shidduchim.

Even Temmy. I loved her dearly, but her constant questioning drove me nuts.

“Why isn’t Shayna engaged yet? We need to do something to help her. Who can we talk to? Is there a way we can network for her somehow?”

I tried shrugging her off. “We can daven for her, right? That would probably be the most helpful.”

My mother was also on Shayna’s case. She sent me regards every time she bumped into her, her words always accompanied by a pathetic sigh. “A girl like her, I was sure she’d be grabbed up the minute she graduated.”

Nobody’s grabbing an unstable home, I thought glumly. But of course, the public didn’t know about the Langers’ troubles, and I spent many uncomfortable conversations pretending not to know either.

Until the morning my Aunt Tova called me.

“Someone mentioned your friend Shayna Langer for Nussi. What can you tell me about her?”

I’d been in the process of bundling up my baby to take him to the babysitter, and hearing my aunt’s words, my arms went weak.

“Shayna?” I stammered.

“Yes, you’re good friends with her, aren’t you? She listed you as a reference on her résumé.”

Not a shidduch call again. I never understood why Shayna listed me as a reference. Yes, we were friends, but did she really want people asking me about her? When she knew that I knew?

My aunt was waiting for an answer. I strapped my baby into his stroller and walked over to the window.

“Shayna’s an exceptionally great person. I have so many nice things to say about her.”

“Okay, so tell me.”

I tugged at the cord of the window shade.

“Uh, I’m actually running out of the house now, I need to be in class in 20 minutes. How about I call you back tonight?”

“Sure, no problem. We’ll talk later then. Take care.”

Mechanically, I bumped the stroller down the stairs and headed down the street to the babysitter. Then I continued walking toward school, sweating despite the frigid weather.

I don’t know how I made it through class. I don’t know how I tutored in the afternoon. My stomach roiled all day, dreading the phone call I would need to make that night.

Because the shadchan was on target. Her idea made sense; Shayna could totally work for Nussi. But how could I live with myself if I let my cousin walk into what I knew was a dysfunctional situation? And at the same time, how could I betray Shayna?

What in the word was I supposed to do? What could I say? I frantically tried to call our family rav for direction, but he was out of town, and would be unavailable for several days.

Ididn’t end up talking to Tova that night. We played phone tag over the next few days — mainly me letting her call go to voicemail because it was never the right time to have this dreadful conversation. I secretly hoped that something would develop while I stalled, and the shidduch would become irrelevant. Thursday night, Tova called again. I hadn’t gained any clarity, but I had no choice but to answer.

“So I did hear amazing things about this girl. Everyone I asked emphasized what incredible middos she has, and I like that she’s smart. You know Nussi, he needs someone intelligent.”

I hooked on to her words. “Shayna is very intelligent. And also very street smart.”

“Right, that’s what I’m hearing from everyone.” Tova paused. ”There’s just this one piece of information that bothers me. About seminary. I know her sisters went to seminary in Eretz Yisrael, but she didn’t. Why is that? She isn’t a scholastic type? Was there a health problem or something? I’m just thinking aloud. Maybe she’s too attached to home?”

Too attached to home!

Shayna’s words from that night in Fudge echoed in my head. Believe me, the last place I want to be is home.

I tried keeping my voice nonchalant. “Uh, I’m not really sure… She’s definitely scholastic….”


“But… um, I don’t know. Maybe you want to ask another friend?” It was stupid, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

I needed a beep. I needed a sudden hurricane to cut the phone connection off. This was my aunt. A blood relative. Knowing what I knew, how could I in good faith encourage her to go ahead with this shidduch?

And yet, Shayna was my friend. She trusted me implicitly. If she put me down as a reference, it meant she fully believed I would safeguard her secret.

Miraculously, I did get a beep just then. I told Tova I had to go, we’d be in touch.

I barely managed to put up Shabbos that night. I felt like I’d been squeezed into a corner, my whole body felt constricted.

When I fell asleep that night, I dreamed of olive-green sweatshirts with snap buckles on the cuffs.

ON Motzaei Shabbos, Shayna called.

“So,” she started.

Her voice was frigid, and a sickening dread filled my chest. I waved to Yerachmiel and slipped out of the house.

Shayna didn’t wait for me to talk. I could hear the froth in her breath as she spoke. “Is that how it works? A shidduch comes up, and my best friend ruins my chance?”


“Play dumb, why don’t you.”

Her fury burned in my ear. She continued spewing words.

“You want to know what the shadchan said? You want to know why it’s off? Because — I quote — because your so-called best friend was evading his mother, she wasn’t returning her calls, and when they finally spoke, she was flustered and couldn’t provide information, and she took that as a red flag,” Shayna hissed. “Libby Weinman, am I such a terrible person that you can’t find one nice thing to say about me?”

I stood near the fence in front of our house, my fingers frantically running over the hedges. A terrible weakness overtook me, a sour taste filling my mouth.

It was chilly, but from somewhere within me, heat rose. Slowly, it filled my limbs, spread over my cheeks. The weakness vanished. I was so, so angry.

“I can think of a million nice things to say about you, Shayna, but my aunt was asking specific questions. So tell me, what I should have said? She’s a first-degree relative, did you expect me to lie to her?”

“Lie? Why would you have to lie? Goodness, Libby, what do you think of me?”

“I’m not talking about you, you know that good and well. I’m talking about your parents, about the whole… situation. She was pushing me into a corner, and I was completely lost. I didn’t want to tell her what I know, I didn’t want to hurt you.”

Shayna’s silence was so severe, it was like I’d suddenly gone deaf.

When she finally spoke, her voice sounded mechanical. “My parents…” Then she gave a strangled chuckle, and the fury in her voice was completely gone. “Are we talking about that time in 12th grade, when my father was out of a job and things got a little… hard? But, oh, please, it was just a short, strained period, until September when my father started a new job.”

A little… hard? Her father started a job in September?

Shayna seemed to forget all about the shidduch suddenly. “Oh, gosh,” she blabbered. “Talking about it now reminds me how crazy things were then. I really owe you, you were such an incredible friend. I was such a worrywart and probably blew everything out of proportion. I acted like a total dope, I’m so embarrassed.”

It took her a moment for her own words to register. Me, I couldn’t find my voice at all, and I pulled at the cuffs of my sweater, snapping and unsnapping imaginary snap buckles.

“I think I… get it,” she said at last. “All these years, you thought…. Oh my, Libby, this is nuts.”

I could think of more accurate descriptions than nuts. The torture of bearing her secret for so long, the helplessness, the despair, and then, the years and years of worry. When all along, there had been no reason to worry, no reason for pity.

There wasn’t much to say. She apologized for keeping me in the dark, but that was hardly the apology I needed. The mistake had been everything she’d shared with me in the first place, the intense pain she’d dumped on my young shoulders, the information overload she’d drowned me in.

I apologized about the shidduch. I felt terrible, but. But nobody could blame me. I offered to call up my aunt and try to push the shidduch, and the next morning, I did that. I told Tova that I really felt she should pursue this girl, I listed Shayna’s incredible qualities, I tried all my powers of persuasion to reignite her interest in my friend.

I even explained the seminary thing. I told her the truth: Money had been tight for the Langers then, and Shayna had maturely agreed not to overburden her parents.

Tova listened and said maybe.

I didn’t know if the shidduch would happen, but I hung up knowing I’d done my share. If it didn’t go through, it would no longer be because Shayna’s best friend had been flustered.

Her best friend wasn’t flustered. She’d simply known too much — and hadn’t known a thing.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 827)

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