here’s your costume?” Ari asked when I came home after Megillah leining Purim morning.

I avoided his eyes. “Um, nowhere?”

“You’re not gonna put anything on?” Ari was wearing a bowler hat and a baggy suit with a bow tie.

“What are you supposed to be?”

“Depends on who you are. I could be just a weirdo, or for those in the know, I’m Laurel from Laurel and Hardy.”

“Not Laurel and Yanny?”

Ari burst out laughing. “Good one. Put something, anything, it could be tiny, on. Please.”

I squirmed. The last time I had dressed up for Purim was probably in eighth grade, when we’d dressed up as “bums,” sprayed temporary hair dye to turn our hair pink, and stuck water-soluble tattoos on our wrists.

“I can wear a snood,” I offered.

“That’s a costume?”

“Definitely a v’nahafoch hu for me.”

“Sad.” Ari twirled the bowler hat.

At least I have my dignity. But what did I have that could pass for a costume, that was easily removable, and wasn’t mortifying in the first place? I remembered I had Mickey Mouse ears somewhere — I’d bought them for Abby’s daughter the last time I went to Florida, by the time I got to Abby, her daughter was past the stage and Mickey was stupid. But now for the million-dollar question: Do I have them in my apartment, or are they still at my parents’ house?

A quick search turned them up. I put the Mickey ears on and looked at myself in the mirror. I’m doing this for Ari. For Ari, who never lost his inner child, for better or for worse.

“Cute!” Ari said when he saw me.

I touched the ears shyly.  “They’re gonna be coming on and off depending on who we go to,” I warned.

Ari shrugged. “Whatever makes you happy.”

If I were doing what made me happy, I wouldn’t be wearing these ears. Unless maybe there’s a small part of me that wants to just let go of being the paragon of sophistication. Does Ari let me embrace the dormant goof somewhere deep in a dusty corner of me? I had heard a short news report that people who embrace silliness are happier, maybe this is me listening to research again.

Ari picked up one of the shalach manos. “They’re really pretty, Shifra. I’ve always wanted to be the one giving out shalach manos that looked like this.”

I beamed. It really wasn’t much, but they looked pretty. I had a clear rectangular sleeve with four different types of cookie samples inside, two of each. You wish I baked; I had ordered the cookies and picked them up yesterday. I’d added a sleek double ribbon and monogrammed label and I was done.

I piled them up into a box. Ari was watching me.

“Let’s make our rounds, and come home so I can prepare for the seudah. I need about two hours.”

Ari had been stocking the freezer, and today the fridge, and there were a ton of props and stuff in the second bedroom that Ari had made me promise not to peek at.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 638)