| Out of Step |

Out of Step: Chapter 34

"You, Bella Rena Martin, are incredibly talented. And I’m not talking about ballet and dancing” 

Ah, Sunday. Beautiful, blissful Sunday. I lay in bed, eyes closed, a small smile on my face. I could lie here for hours, just me and my pretty room and the sunbeam that is shining directly on my face, warming it. My blankets are perfectly tangled and I’m just drowsy enough to fall back asleep… A knock and then my door opens. So much for my plans of uninterrupted laziness. Ma pokes her head in.

“Bells? You up?”

What does a girl have to do to get some sleep around here?

“Yeah, yeah,” I say grumpily. “I’m up. Bokers.”

“Good morning, honey. Daddy’s bringing something in, okay?” Ma’s eyes are twinkling with suppressed excitement.

I sit up in bed. “What is it?”

Ma winks. “You’ll see.”

Oh, boy. It’s going to be something totally extra; I can already tell.

Daddy sticks his head into the room. “Morning, princess. Ready?”

Totally not. “You bet,” I say cheerily.

He steps fully into the room. My mouth falls open. Like legit, jaw dropping and everything.

“Is that a….?”

“Yup,” Ma says proudly.

“It’s a sewing machine.”

“Yup,” she says again. “It’s a Brother CS6000i Sewing Machine.”

That means nothing to me. It’s new and shiny and has tons of buttons that I immediately want to press but there’s only one problem.

“I don’t sew.”

“Yet,” Daddy says. “You don’t sew yet.”

Okay, what is happening. Like, I literally feel like I’m part of a Purim shpiel or something.

“But,” I say, trying to be very clear, “I don’t think I’ve ever expressed interest in learning how to sew. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never said the words ‘sewing machine’ before in my life.”

I blink at them earnestly, just in case we have fallen into an alternate universe and they need convincing of my seriousness.

Ma motions to Daddy to place it on my desk. He complies, moving aside my math book and a bag of apple chips. Funnily enough, it doesn’t look out of place. Huh.

She sits down next to me on the bed. “Bella Rena, I want to say something, and I want you to be mekabel what I’m saying, alright? Do you think you can do that? Really try to hear me?”

I resist the urge to roll my eyes. “I’ll try,” I say tonelessly. “No promises.”

Daddy snorts and Ma sighs. “Okay, well, here goes: you, Bella Rena Martin, are incredibly talented. And I’m not talking about ballet and dancing,” she adds quickly, seeing my mouth open.


“I’m talking about design.”


“Design?” I say tiredly. “Ma, I have no idea what you are talking about. Really. I’m trying to be open-minded, like you asked, but when have I ever designed anything?”

“Goldie’s dress,” Ma shoots out. “And helloooo?” I laugh at her imitation of me. “This room? That we’re sitting in? Right now?”

Daddy cracks up.

Do I do that? I say sentences in question form? Oh. Haha.

I look around the room. It is a great room.

And Goldie’s dress….

“When I walked into this room and saw the finished product, I was blown away. Absolutely blown away. We redecorated for less than five hundred dollars, yet this room looks like it came straight out of an interior design magazine.”

I internalize her words with the acknowledgement that she is my mother, and is probably blinded by love. But still… I did have a blast putting this room together. And Goldie’s dress design had just been instinctive for me. I think back to all the times I’d purchased clothing and wished they had a bit more of this or a touch of that. I always thought I was just hard to please, but maybe Mommy is right? Maybe I’m naturally good… at design?

“So why not sign me up for interior design classes?” I ask. “Why a sewing machine?”

Ma smiles. “Sewing is a great skill to have. Especially if you have seven sons.”

I wrinkle my nose, because I plan on having all girls.

The sewing machine seems to be looking at me. Daddy shows me the brown paper bag hanging from his arm.

“One more surprise.”

I peek inside. “Cute!” It’s a teal and white paisley sewing machine cover.

“It’s perfect,” I say, secretly thinking it could be improved with a few golden studs running down its seams.

Oh. That’s what Mommy means. I design in my head. Well then.

“So, Ma,” I say, suddenly shy, “can I take sewing lessons?”

She beams at me. “You begin tomorrow, honey. You’ll do amazing.”

She and Daddy kiss me and leave the room, looking very pleased with themselves.

I lean back on my pillows, trying to figure out what had just happened. I now own a sewing machine and am starting sewing lessons tomorrow. Well, I didn’t expect that from a standard Sunday.

I look at the sewing machine and my stomach flutters with excitement. New things are happening. Who knows, maybe I’ll be, like, a sewing prodigy. And the first project I want to work on is curtains for my room. Something white with a teal line?

So much to think about, but right now, I need to go back to sleep. It is Sunday after all.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 810)

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