Icannot believe it’s almost Yom Kippur and I still haven’t spoken to Dassi. I mean, we’ve said hello to each other, and we act as though everything is fine, but it’s not, and it’s my job to fix it. Maybe you think my problem is getting up the nerve to apologize, and maybe it would be, but I have to deal with another problem first: how to apologize without making it worse.
I spent the summer in Chicago helping my grandparents while my Savta recovered from hip surgery. Though I missed being with my friends, I love my grandparents dearly and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them. Also, I was kept pretty busy, enabling me to forget about my Dassi-problem. Returning to school, I was excited to rejoin my friends, but the anticipation of meeting one particular girl had my stomach tied in knots.
Last year I had loved being on the staff of my school newspaper. Sharing our ideas, using our talents, and cracking jokes as we worked together to meet deadlines created incredibly strong friendships for which I’m exceptionally grateful. Except…
We really lucked out in getting Miss Sanders as our unbelievably dedicated newspaper advisor. When we stayed up until midnight before a deadline, Miss Sanders did too — and she brought pizza! Somehow, whenever one of us had a great idea for an amazing interview, Miss Sanders made it happen. And she’s the one who politely and firmly put the printer in his place when he insisted that he needed an extra week for printing. Miss Sanders was a dream advisor, not only with regard to the newspaper, but also with our personal concerns. After spending so much time working closely together many of us began confiding in her like a big sister, and Miss Sanders rose to the occasion. All of us felt grateful for all that she did for us. So when she got engaged last May, we were over the moon with elation and anxious to use the occasion to show our gratitude. And this was where I got myself into trouble.
After much discussion, we decided to chip in to throw a surprise party for Miss Sanders, with refreshments, entertainment, and of course a gift, as a sign of our regard for her. I was given the tremendous honor of coordinating the event and I jumped in, only to feel shocked when girls weren’t as forthcoming with their contributions as I expected. It was only $20, which everyone had agreed to; after all, what was the big deal? After some serious nudging, everyone finally did give me the money — everyone except Dassi. Though she’d originally seemed all gung-ho about the party and gift, she now acted like it was of no concern to her.
“Miss Sanders’s party? Oh, yeah! You’re collecting for it? Oh, guess I forgot. Sorry. I’ll, um, try to remember.” Dassi made it sound as though I should not hold my breath, so I didn’t. Eventually, after receiving one too many vague responses, I figured Dassi just wasn’t interested, so I left her alone. I didn’t count on her $20, nor did I count on her presence at the party. I stopped updating her about the plans and didn’t even tell her when the date had to be switched; Dassi had made it abundantly clear, I thought, that she did not care. I wasn’t intentionally excluding her, and I guess I assumed she’d hear from someone else, and I left it at that. Oh, and I congratulated myself on handling the situation so well, and promptly put Dassi out of my mind.
The party was a total success — almost. The food, games, and gift were tasteful and well-received and it was clear that Miss Sanders was touched and appreciative. It was only the following day, when the newspaper staff had its final meeting, that I had second thoughts. After thanking us once again Miss Sanders looked around the room until she spotted Dassi. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 727)
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