| Shooting Stars |

Shooting Stars: Chapter 7

I’m all alone.  Alone in this cramped hallway.  Although throngs of girls surround me, I’m alone.   Alone in my thoughts.  Alone in my misery.  There are shouts, exclamations of surprise.  Of course — play parts!  We waited for this moment with bated breath.  And the lists are finally being posted.  I direct a quick glance at the creased paper making its rounds.  Not now.  This isn’t the time for this.  Not when. . . Uncle Dani is who-knows-where (I overheard my grandparents saying something about prison!) and Ima’s hooked up to an IV.  Not now!  These girls have no clue what it means to endure so much.

I need to get away.  Fast.

Only suddenly, crowds of onlookers surround me, lifting me up on their shoulders.  What’s going on?  I don’t even pretend to know what this is all about.  I break out of their grasp and . . . flee.  To somewhere quiet.

I chance upon the vacant computer lab and slump into one of the hard plastic chairs.  I place my head into my hands.  It’s so heavy.  And then they come.  The tears.  They roll down my pale cheeks, hot, salty tears.  And for a while, I just feel the slow beating of my heart.

“Dafna?” I glance up abruptly.  I’m too exhausted to care about my red eyes and wet cheeks.  Ayelet.  It’s only Ayelet.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  “Why did you disappear like that?  The entire school is looking for you!”  Gulp.  Really?  The entire school is looking for me?  “Why?”

Ayelet looks me up and down.  “Do you mean to tell me that you really have no clue?”

“About what, exactly?  Quit the riddles.”

Ayelet plops down on a chair beside me.  “You’re dance head, Dafna.  Dance Head!”  I hate the way she breathes the words, as if they were some sacred title.  I look her squarely in the eyes.  “And so?  That doesn’t give me the right to disappear?”  Ayelet shrugs thoughtfully.  She taps the keyboard in front of her, bites her lips.  “Tell me,” I demand.  “What if. . . there’s nothing to say?”  She looks at me sadly.  “Stop, don’t!”  I burst out suddenly.  “Don’t what?”  Ayelet regards me quizzically.

“Don’t look at me like that.”

Ayelet’s quiet.

“Talk to me.”

She shrugs again.  “What are you in?”  I ask, as an afterthought.  “Song-dance,” Ayelet laughs, the sound echoing off the hollow walls.  “Come on, what did you think?” she asks incredulously.

“Maybe I just didn’t.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 792)

Oops! We could not locate your form.