| Moonwalk |

Moonwalk: Chapter 5

The car is already there by the time I convince Miss Freifeld, the secretary, that I really am practically dying

I’m back in school, and my stomach is aching so badly, I’m scared that if I open my mouth, everything I ate today will come rushing out.

I am not throwing up in school. It’s the grossest thing ever.

I clamp my lips together and rest my head on my hand, willing the nausea to recede. It helps, for about 20 seconds. Then my insides go back to feeling like a washing machine on spin cycle.

I ask to leave and half-stumble to the door and then the office to call my mother.

“Ma.” I nearly cry when she picks up. “Come get me. Please.”

My mother hesitates. “It’s nearly the end of school, Libby… is it that bad?”

“Worse.” Tears spring to my eyes. I choke them back. “Just come….”

I hear a chair scrape back. “I’ll be outside in ten minutes.”

The car is already there by the time I convince Miss Freifeld, the secretary, that I really am practically dying.

“Thanks for coming so fast,” I say to Ma, collapsing into the seat.

“Are you okay?” she asks, eyeing me up and down.

“My stomach… and head. I wanna go to bed….”

“We’ll be home soon.” Ma pauses. “Anything more specific?”

“Specific? I’m dizzy, nauseous, headache… you know, all the same stuff.” Then, because her expression seems funny, I ask, “Why?”

“Because… the doctor’s office called today.” She shakes her head. “The tests came back negative, Libby. You don’t have celiac.”

“Well, I’m so happy to hear! I’m just about to throw up everything I ate today, but nothing’s wrong. Great.”

“Libby!” Ma is hurt. “You don’t need to be sarcastic. The doctor suggested another test. I’ve scheduled a colonoscopy for you.”

I have no idea what a colonoscopy is. I’m not sure I want to know, either.


Stupid, stupid algebra class.

I hate squared paper and blunt pencils; I hate the way my stomach is cramping, and I hate, hate, hate simultaneous equations.

Like I care about x, y, z when I’m not supposed to be eating all day, only liquids, and am so scared of this colonoscopy, I can hardly think straight.

I rip a page out of my notebook, and write in tiny letters: I’m having that stomach test tomorrow. SO nervous…

I fold it into a tiny square and toss it onto Shana’s desk. A moment later, she sends it back, adorned with three hearts and a big X. I catch her eye and smile, a little teary.

Daven for me, k?


And then: wanna go for pizza tonight?

My stomach spasms, my fingers are suddenly shaky, and the room is too bright. And then the bell rings.

Mrs. Lister sweeps out. Shana comes over.

“I can’t eat today. For the test… and I need to drink some gross stuff tonight.”

Shana’s eyes widen. “Oh. I didn’t realize. That’s… hard, Libs.”

“What’s hard?” asks Eliana. “Libby, are you okay? You don’t look great.”

She cares, she really does, but I’m not sure I want her to know about the colonoscopy.

“Yeah, I’m— fine,” I stammer.

Tzirel Davis passes by, a pile of textbooks balanced on one arm. She’s a head taller than me, and looks down with a superior smile. “Oh, don’t ask Libby and Shana about their secrets.”

“It’s not a secret,” I say. “I have this test tomorrow, because I’ve been feeling sick recently… nothing major.”

“Seems pretty major, but whatever.” Shana means well, but Eliana gasps and suddenly Tehillah and Mimi are also around and offering to split up Tehillim. And just then Miss Halb is standing in the doorway. She’s staring at me with too much interest. What did she hear?

I slide down in my chair, mortified, and glare at Tzirel. This is all her fault.

*Names and details changed to protect privacy

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 804)

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