| Shared Space |

Shared Space: Chapter 48

“You know how you make fun of me about not checking before I pull out of a parking spot?” Kivi asked.

Malky picked at her eggs, spinning them around her fork but not eating. She’d asked for a cheese omelet and they’d left the cheese out and Kivi wanted to go back and complain, but she said no way, it was fine. But l’maaseh, Kivi thought, she wasn’t eating, so what was the point of being classy?

She half smiled, not sure where he was headed. “I just think it’s not safe,” she said. “You don’t check the mirror and suddenly, boom, you’re in traffic.”

“Right,” he nodded, “exactly. So I appreciate what you tried doing for me, with the house and Aryeh, but it doesn’t make sense — basically, it’s like pulling into moving traffic without checking the mirror. Let’s move with the flow of traffic, you know?”

“I chap Kivi, very good,” she said drily. “I get the mashal.”

The café had opened three weeks ago, and in the Summit playground, admitting that you hadn’t yet been to Top of the Morning was almost as bad as being anti-vaxx. Some of the women had opinions on favorite tables, and Chayale Landau happily admitted that she’d had them deliver coffees to her husband’s office as a surprise one day.

Malky had wanted to go, so last night, when Kivi said, “Malk, we really need to talk,” they agreed that they would go for coffee after the baby was dropped off at the babysitter.

Malky had stopped suddenly as they came into the main seating area, overwhelmed by the sight of the café full of people — half of them from Summit, it looked like — and she wondered, as they sat there, if she and Kivi were the only ones having a real discussion. Other people also had chinuch worries and shalom bayis issues and maybe, under their wide smiles and easy laughter, they were just as anxious as she was.

Now, with a glance around her, she lowered her voice and continued. “I get the mashal, but I have no idea what you’re trying to say.”

Kivi was considering his next words. He was looking at his wife, but remembering his conversation with Reb Dovid:  cool, easygoing Reb Dovid whom Kivi had more or less avoided for four years of yeshivah, sitting back in his office chair and squinting. “Kivi,” he’d said, “you were a guy, you could learn well and speak funny and play ball. You were better than everyone else, right? And then you made the rich shidduch and suddenly, for the first time in your life, you felt inadequate, unworthy, like you had to prove yourself.”

Kivi had sat in the small office, almost frozen, hating what he was hearing, resenting the middle-aged rebbi with the Armani ties (I know where he buys them and guaranteed he didn’t pay more than 20 bucks, Wagner used to say) for articulating the truth with such monotony, as if reading off a weather report.


Now, he met Malky’s gaze. “I feel like maybe I made a mistake.”

“By marrying me?” Malky said this breezily, the fork with its little trail of eggs swinging casually.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 753)

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