“It sort of hit me in the face lately. My life is… different than any other kid’s”
It feels so wrong. I’m not familiar with these games. My eyes dart from my white slip to the door. Where is Aviva already? The door creaks open. “Dafna?” Aviva appears relieved. “I thought you’d never come!” I shrug. “I’m not used to this, you know. Skipping class is not my thing.” Aviva cocks her head and laughs. “You’re not used to letting go, period. When I needed it, I just got myself a white slip and left. By the end of the year I’d accumulated a nice pile.”
“I’ve never done anything like this. But I need to. I can’t sit in class, even if I wanted to!” I explain. Aviva twirls a strand of blonde hair around her finger. “It’s good to know your limits,” she states. “I don’t?” I ask defensively. She regards me as if seeing me for the first time. “You just don’t know how to chill once in a while. Or in many whiles. I was out every single day. When there’s so much going on, I let myself feel. I didn’t just sit in Chumash class and pretend nothing happened. And sometimes there’s something that wakes up in my heart. And I listen. I give myself a break. Navi is mighty important, but my sanity is, too.” She feels strongly about this.
“My sanity is important to me,” I say lamely.
“Not important enough.”
I steal a glance at the white note. Aviva follows my gaze. “Don’t look at that now!” She grabs it from my hand forcefully. “Now’s not the time. You’ll deal with the consequences later. Or just slip into class before the next period begins.”
My shoulders sag in defeat.
“You’re out anyhow, you may as well enjoy it. And we may as well talk. Not just spend our time looking at crumpled pieces of paper. And maybe you’ll even want to tell me why you just can’t sit in class today. Or maybe you won’t.” She bites her lower lip.
The acrylics are really gross.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Aviva intones. I pretend to be offended. “A penny, that’s all you give them?”
“A dime, at most.”
I smirk. “This time it’s worth less. The acrylics. They make me gag.”
Aviva looks at me incredulously. “This is what you cut class for? Paint? C’mon let’s get started on the real stuff.”
I sigh. It might help, talking to her. She knows already anyway, so what can I lose? “It sort of hit me in the face lately. My life is… different than any other kid’s.”
“Good morning, dear America. That’s like, such old news.” Aviva rolls her eyes.
I’m tempted not to continue. But I know that’s just how Aviva is. “I saw my mother’s name on a Tehillim list,” I explain.
Her eyes narrow.
“And I realized that no other kid’s mother’s name was on there. And it’s time to face the fact that I live a life that’s different.”
Aviva swallows. She looks like she’s about to cry. “That’s the worst,” she whispers. “It once happened to me, too. I appreciated that people were davening for my mother and all. But it jolted me in a way nothing else could.”
She toys with her glasses. She wants to ask me something, I can tell.
“Go ahead,” I say. But she clamps her lips shut and says nothing. “You made me curious,” I insist. She smiles in defeat. “But you might not like what I’m asking.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 796)
Oops! We could not locate your form.