"I want to go out to eat. I want to talk okay? Please Chaim.”
Chaim looked up from his perch on the golf cart. “Seriously? Like now? In the middle of camp?”
He knew the expression on Rivky’s face. It was the determined look she wore when she suddenly started cleaning out a closet and wouldn’t stop until she was done.
“Rivk I’d love to. But there is an inspector coming to check the kitchen in two hours and we have an inter-camp hockey game tonight with Matzav. There’s a chance we may even win! Wouldn’t that be great? The kids are psyched for it. It’ll be like Trump they’re going to get tired of winning.”
He laughed but she didn’t.
“Chaim. This is for real. I want to talk. I don’t like what’s happening.”
“Oooh serious ” he growled. “Come on Rivky which article did you read this Shabbos? Let me guess. Ten experts weigh in on how to make your marriage better. Communication is key. And wait”—Chaim was determined to get her to smile at least—“date night right? Did some guy who can barely make conversation with his wife at suppertime encourage date night and say how crucial that is?”
Rivky exhaled. “Chaim. Cute. You can keep laughing all the way to the bank but I mean it I’d like to talk. We’re in a weird spot and it’s important.”
Chaim frowned. He had no idea what she meant by “all the way to the bank ” and likely she didn’t either.
“Sure Rivky sounds great.”
He saw the tension leak out of her and she leaned against the golf cart. “Chaim I hate drama. But you’re always so distracted. Maybe it’s that I have too much time to think here in camp. Maybe it’s that I’m stressed.”
“Of course you are. You’re taking care of your parents all day alone. Your siblings come marching in for Visiting Day — to smile for the cameras — and now you’re back doing it on your own. It’s a lot to handle.”
He was about to suggest that she take some time off but he caught himself. He hadn’t yet recovered from the last time she’d left him alone here in camp. Her family’s camp.
“You know what Rivky? You’re right. We do need to talk. Let’s go out at five o’clock — does that work? So I can be here for the game? We’re hosting. It’s a big deal.”
Riverside in Ellenville seemed a pretentious name for the former pizza shop that seemed to be going through a phase an ambitious young Israeli having decided that artisanal pizzas Belgian waffles and $15 drinks were the way to go.
Judging from the late afternoon crowd he appeared to be right. Chaim grudgingly accepted the only available table a too-small half-booth near the kitchen.
“What can we bring you?” said the waiter a surly-looking teenage boy who didn’t even make eye contact.
“Hey I’ve actually got a question ” Chaim said. “Why is this place called Riverside if we’re not at the side of any river?” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Issue 658)
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