| Jr. Tales |

Cold Feet for Friendship

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Miss Goodstein, our sixth-grade English teacher, always assigned interesting journal assignments. I rolled my eyes and groaned like everyone else but though I would never admit it, I enjoyed journaling. Today’s assignment was: If I weren’t ______ I would do_______. I picked up my orange gel pen, (Miss Goodstein let us use whatever color pens we wanted) and wrote: If I weren’t so scared I would try to make friends with Shaindy Gellman. Then I looked down at my paper, horrified, and crossed the words out. What was I thinking? Some things you don’t share with your teacher, even one you really like.

I looked around. Some girls were writing, a few were staring into space. (Shaindy Gellman had her head bent over her notebook, purple pencil gripped tightly in her hand, and was writing furiously. I had a feeling she enjoyed journaling too, though of course I could never ask her.) I sighed and started over. If I didn’t have two left feet I would try out for dance.

Shaindy Gellman had joined our class last year. She had hit it off with popular Dini Kagan and her group right away, and I never really had much to do with her. I wasn’t a loner; Shevi, Esty and Nechama were my friends, but a social butterfly I was not, and I certainly never had ambitions of being friends with anyone from Dini’s chevreh. Until I met Shaindy at the ice skating rink on midwinter vacation.

Bnos had arranged to rent out the ice skating rink across town for a few hours one day, and my sister Avigayil, who taught in my school, said she would drive me. I immediately got on the phone. “Shevi, you wanna come with me to Ice-o-Rama on Wednesday?”

“Ooh, I wish, Sari! But my mother is taking us to meet my cousins on Wednesday.”

I had similar conversations with Esty and Nechama and my neighbor Rena, then resigned myself to going with just Avigayil. It’s only cuz I’m not popular, I brooded. Someone like Dini Kagan probably never finds herself without friends to join her. But Avigayil perked me up by telling me some of the funny things her first-grade students had told her (“Morah, my mommy said we’re going to Florida but I shouldn’t tell anyone”) and I found myself feeling better by the time we got to the rink.

Then I saw Shaindy Gellman on line in front of me. This was so embarrassing. Now she would see that I was such a neb, going ice-skating all alone. I looked around for Dini and Malka and the others who were surely here with her, but all I saw were two little girls standing next to Shaindy who looked a lot like her.

Suddenly she turned around and saw me. “Sari, you’re here too, such fun!” she said.

I nodded dumbly. “I was so excited when my mother said she was willing to drive us here. I’ve never gone ice-skating before and I can’t wait. Oh, meet my younger sisters, Batya and Chani,”

I nodded again, feeling my cheeks grow hot. Was I really standing in line at the ice skating rink with Shaindy Gellman, who had come here with her little sisters and looked really excited to see me?

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 744)

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