| Serial |

Picture This: Chapter 10  

           She hated shopping with Yonah, she decided. They were never doing it again


She patted the melon twice before putting it into the cart.

Yonah popped up behind her. “Whatchya doing?”

She smirked. “I have no idea. I just always see my mother do that.”

They cracked up. See, this was fun! She usually shopped on her own on Wednesday night, but they’d had Pinny and Ayala’s sheva brachos, and had gotten home way later than expected. It had been fun, being the newly married couple without being the stars of the show. Plenty of attention, but in a backseat kind of way.

Now, it was already Thursday, and Yonah had offered to go shopping with her so they could run through her list more quickly.

She wasn’t sure they were actually saving any time, but it was such a chilled and easy way to spend time with each other.

She perused her list. “Okay, you go get the snacks, I’ll get the yogurts, and we’ll meet at the pasta slash rice aisle, okay?”

He saluted smartly. “Yes, sir, captain.”

She rolled her eyes and pushed the cart to the dairy section, smiling to herself. Yonah made everything enjoyable; he was so easygoing and light. She really didn’t appreciate that enough. She was going to write him a letter tonight, she decided, putting some coffee Greek yogurts in the wagon and grabbing four regular vanilla ones for Yonah. He wasn’t much of a yogurt guy, but sometimes he got in the mood.

She pushed her way over to the pasta aisle, winding around other young couples using bein hasedorim to stock up in Aisle Nine.

Yonah came sauntering over, a bag of pretzels and a package of sandwich cookies in his hands. She blinked in surprise.

“Hi. Where are the snacks?”

He looked at her like she might not be feeling well. “Uh, Est, they’re right here.”

She bit her lip. “Um, no, snacks means chocolates and nuts and cereal bars and gummies and soft chewy cookies. Haven’t you seen our snack cabinet?”

Yonah looked confused. “Yeah, but it still has all those things. I did finish the pretzels, though, so I thought I’d buy some more. Hey, why’d you get so many vanilla yogurts? I only need one.”

Estee pulled the cart out of his reach. “We’re not getting one, we’re getting a few.”

Yonah raised an eyebrow; she felt ridiculous and pushed the wagon closer to him again. “’Kay, I’m just going to run and get more snacks. Can you get cucumbers and peppers? A lot of each,” she called after him.

She eyed the couple next to her, giggling over the breadcrumb options. They probably both heartily agreed on snack quantities. She hated shopping with Yonah, she decided. They were never doing it again.

Estee stepped out into the muggy night, balancing a cup of ice water and the phone. The landlord had a small patio with two loveseats that he kept encouraging the Rosens to feel free to use. Midnight family chatting seemed like the perfect time to utilize the cute spot.

She squinted at the screen. It was muggy out, but not too hot, and the sky was clear, stars twinkling overhead. She adjusted her tichel, stretched, and checked her phone again. Ma had stopped answering her texts at some point, and now Avigail had as well.

Yonah poked his head out.

“Est?” he said in an exaggerated whisper.

She grinned at him. “What?” she whisper-shouted back.

He wasn’t wearing his slides; his socks were going to get muddy. But she didn’t say anything, just smiled calmly. She was learning to not always share every bit of advice she wanted to offer. But the struggle was real.

He plopped onto the seat next to her.

“Nu, update me. Who is engaged, who is at war, and who is starting a podcast?”

She cracked up. “The answers are maybe Avigail, me, and my family for not answering, and honestly, you totally should.”

He put his hand up like a microphone. “Shanah Rishonah Shenanagins, it’s Yonah Rosen here with the latest.”

She wrinkled her nose. “I think that’s a news reporter, not a podcaster.”

He leaned back, hands behind his head. “Ahh, gotta brush up on my skills.”

And that’s when her phone pinged. “Ohmigosh, finally!!!!” She lunged for it.

Avigail: It’s over.

Estee sat back, startled. “Oh, noooooo.”

Yonah leaned over the screen. “Over?! What! But Katz was a great guy, I researched him and everything.”

Estee looked at Yonah, her lip jutting out. “Oy, I’m so sad for her. I think I’ll call her.”

Yonah nodded and waved, heading back inside. He could take a hint, good guy that he was.


“Estee…” She heard her little sister sniff. “Est, he said no! What’d I do wrong? How did this happen? I thought it was going amazing, I thought… I was going to marry him.”

Avigail was 11 months younger than she, her Irish twin, but the two weren’t close. Avigail was a sweetheart, a people pleaser, a by-the-book kind of person, and Estee was always more outgoing. In her deepest, darkest, worst thoughts, she’d labeled herself as the prototype and Avigail as the copy. But right now, she felt her sister’s pain vividly.

“Oy, Gail, I’m so sorry. The boy obviously has issues.”

Her sister wailed. “Nuh-uhhhh, he was amazing.”

Estee rubbed her forehead. “You want to know the truth?” she said slowly. “Getting married at 20 is hard work, Avigail. You’re young, all your friends are single, you suddenly have to grow up, and it’s a lot. Just… a lot. I’m actually happy for you that you’ll have more time to be free. To buy an iced coffee without wondering if that’s cutting into your chicken budget, or to just spend time with friends, maybe find out who you are a bit in an adult world, outside of school.”

She looked around to make sure Yonah wasn’t in hearing range, but the door to the house was closed firmly.

Avigail was quiet. “Estee… I don’t know what to say. I thought you were obsessed with shanah rishonah.

Estee felt a stab of panic. “I am! I do! I is!”

Avigail giggled. “You is?”

“I is,” Estee said solemnly. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not a tiny bit happy for you to have more time to chill a little before you start adulting full time.”

Avigail snorted. “Coming to Ma every other Shabbos and for dinner once a week is adulting full time? And I’m pretty sure I saw her ironing your dress yesterday?”

Estee laughed tiredly. “Well, Yonah burnt my favorite skirt, so I’ve been sneaking my ironing over there. I gotta go, but I’m sorry you were hurt. You know what they say—”

“Rejection is Hashem’s protection,” Avigail mumbled.

“Girl, you said it. Love you!”

And she hung up the phone. Sitting there in the dark, she realized that she normally would never have told Avigail any of that, but sometimes, the truth just comes out.

She also realized that when she dropped her ironing off at Ma two days ago it had been the last time she’d spoken to her mother in… two days.

The last time she’d gone two days without speaking to Ma had been, well, never.

Yonah sprawled on the couch, feeling strangely lazy. Estee was outside talking to her sister, he’d already spoken to his parents, and good husband that he was, he’d washed the dishes. He should really go to sleep already so he could be up on time for his morning seder.

Plus, tomorrow was FAFSA form day. Meaning, he’d need a lot of energy. But he’d just started reading The Hobbit… and besides, he was an adult. He could choose to stay up late and be tired, right?

He was entitled, wasn’t he?

He cracked open the old book and read for far, far longer than the “just five more minutes” he’d mumbled as Estee had reentered the house.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1017)

Oops! We could not locate your form.