he front door opened. I was in the corner of the dining room nursing a coffee. I wasn’t hiding from Ari, but I was wary of seeing him after his Purim seudah comments.

He’d fallen asleep at the end of the seudah so I hadn’t had a sober moment with him yet, and I didn’t know what to say to him. Somewhere in my head I thought that if Ari sought me out, it would mean he wanted to see me, so I sat in the corner, just a little out of the way.

“Shifra?” Ari called.

“Dining room,” I answered.

He peeked his head through the archway. “I’m the one with the hangover who needs dark corners.”

I chuckled. Was he going to totally ignore the elephant in the room?

“It’s cozy.”

Ari pulled out a chair. “How was the seudah?”

I looked at him. “You were there too, it was nice.” Should I say more than nice, because he did an amazing job, or less than nice, because of his comment?

Ari was shaking his head now, he looked like he was laughing. “I haven’t gotten drunk on Purim in years, I’m a little out of practice. I have no memory of yesterday after Mommy and Tatty came.”

I took a deep sip of my coffee. Thank You, Hashem! I swallowed my coffee, the sweet bitterness enveloping me, how poetic. Now I could solve our problems on my own schedule. We didn’t have to have a major DMC today, it could wait till I was better equipped in my own head.

“It was a beautiful seudah,” I said. “Everyone enjoyed themselves, and you really outdid yourself with the food and d?cor.”

Ari gave me a self-satisfied smile. He checked his phone. “I gotta go, I’ll text you later.”

“Later,” I repeated as he collected his coat and headed to the door.

I sat in my little corner another minute. What would I do with this blessing? Pretend that conversation had never happened was my first thought, but it was fleeting. It would just come back to bite me. Ari feels that I put my agency before our marriage, before him. Even though he smiles and is chilled, this is how he really feels. But what could I even do?

I dialed Abby.

“I’m coming over,” I said as soon as she answered.

“Fine.” She knew exactly why I was calling. “But a disclaimer: This is above my pay grade. I will listen to you and either have nothing smart to say, or steer you completely wrong. I take no responsibility.”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 639)