I had one goal tonight: Shut Leah down. Right now I view it as my chesed of a lifetime, or a marriage to be exact


o I was going over all this stuff with my husband, and he thought I should get a loan and really kick-start this properly — you know, graphics, ads, stuff,” Leah said.

We sat over coffee in Starbucks. It was after 9 p.m. and I wasn’t even drinking decaf. So cute that her husband is poking in with his little eitzos, but I had one goal tonight: Shut Leah down. Right now I view it as my chesed of a lifetime, or a marriage to be exact.

“Before you continue with your grand plans, I just want to cut in for a sec,” I interrupted Leah. “Starting a business is a huge endeavor, it’s all-consuming, like a baby or a marriage. It needs a lot of attention and nurturing.”

“Oooh, fancy similes, English teacher,” Leah poked.

I gave her a look. “I’m serious. Starting a company at the start of your marriage is not a good idea, and if you haven’t actually done it yet and are just in the planning stages, I’m gonna stick my two cents in and say don’t.”

Leah looked startled. I know this is not what she was expecting with this meeting. She took a sip of her Tevana, then gave me a laughing smile. “Shifra, stop messing with me, you know I’m doing this. Why are you all of a sudden putting disclaimers out there? If it fails I won’t blame you, ’kay?

“You know 50 percent of all small businesses fail within five years.”

“So optimistic today!” Leah took another sip. “You’ve duly warned me, now tell me everything I need to know.”

“I’m serious.” How could I impress upon her the damage she’ll wreaking on her life?

“My husband and I have been having a blast planning this. It’s been so much fun. Even if it does fail, it’s been a good time all around.”

It went quiet. I had to take in her words. Yes, she’s being flippant about the risks, but they’re doing it together, a totally different dynamic than Ari and me. And that’s my fault; I shut him out so many times even though I know he wants to be involved. I just keep forgetting. My self-flagellation started all over again.

“Really?” I didn’t have anything smarter to say.

“Totally,” she said with the confidence only a 20-year-old can possess. So who is the anomaly, me or her?

I paused for a moment and then pulled my computer closer.  “Okay, waiver signed and delivered,” I joked. “Let’s do this then. There are two possible routes — big and fast versus slow and steady. Here’s what you should consider about each.”

Leah leaned forward attentively. I thought I’d able to get Leah to abandon ship, but this was nice, too: jewelry and mentoring.