| Teen Diary Serial |

The Girl That Was: Chapter 7 

I wanted people to feel bad for me, but I got so angry whenever anyone treated me like a nebach case.


On my first day back to school after Mommy died, I woke up with a feeling of dread. My thoughts were racing.

Young people shouldn’t die. Ever! But all those people that have two parents are really lucky. I hope they know that. Whatever. They probably don’t know it. They take it for granted. Didn’t I take my mother for granted until she got sick? Maybe this is a lesson for me. I do have a brother who gave up his life for me and my single brothers. I do have a house to live in. I will try not to take that for granted.

Truthfully, part of me was happy to go back to routine. I sort of needed some normalcy in my life. I got up and started getting dressed. As I was putting on my uniform, my hands started trembling. The last time I put on this skirt, Mommy was alive! How can a skirt outlive a mother? Ugh. I didn’t care what I looked like. My shirt could be wrinkled, my hair could be knotty, who cares? But I knew that I didn’t want to be the object of everyone’s pitiful stares and whispers. I knew that I wanted to put on a brave front and pretend that I was okay.

So I carefully brushed my hair and tucked in my shirt. I came into the kitchen for breakfast and there was my sister-in-law Baila feeding her children. She smiled at me and offered me breakfast. I knew that I should be polite, especially after all my thoughts about not taking things for granted. But I grunted and grabbed a breakfast bar. I mumbled goodbye and walked out the door, out of my safety zone and into the world of harsh, painful reality. But the world didn’t have to see what was inside me. I would not let them have access to it. So I pasted a smile on my face and acted as if all was okay.

Together with Malki, I walked into the classroom. It became silent. But Malki quickly piped up and said, “Guess what? Mindy’s back,” and I gave a wave and a smile. That was it. The ice was broken.

I sat in my chair that day trying to concentrate. But I didn’t really care much about grades.

Some teachers tried to show compassion. Others got straight down to business and told me what I had to make up. Seriously? You think I cared about a math grade or a parshah test?

Hellooo… my mother just died.

I came home from school that first day back and was greeted by my nieces and nephews. I hugged them tight. They are so precious. The house smelled delicious. Baila had cooked a yummy supper. It really is nice to come home to a delicious-smelling house.

But Mommy wasn’t coming home. And that hurt.

I plunked down on my bean bag and thought about my day.

Recess was strange. I had girls saying hi to me that I never had anything to do with. I knew they were trying to show support for me. But I felt like a nebach case. I wished that they would leave me alone.

Chedvah’s mother died two years ago. She came over to me at recess. I knew she was trying to be kind. But I never had anything to do with her, and I didn’t want her to suddenly come charging into my life.

On the other hand, I wasn’t really interested in my regular friends either. It was as if I just grew up and surpassed them in age by like 50 years. But I didn’t want to have no friends. I was so confused. I didn’t know what I wanted.

I wanted people to feel bad for me, but I got so angry whenever anyone treated me like a nebach case.

Sometimes I wanted to laugh and have fun, but then I was afraid that people would think that I got over Mommy’s death.

Bubby! I thought suddenly. She’s the one I can talk to. She could help me sort myself out.

I ran to her house.

Fifteen minutes later I Ieft, sobbing.

Mommy was an only child. And Mommy’s death hit Bubby so hard. She wasn’t the same anymore. She wasn’t able to focus on what I was saying. I felt as if she was staring through me without seeing me. Here house was messy and there was nothing cooking on the stove. This wasn’t my Bubby.

We needed to get her help. Did no one else realize? Is taking care of Bubby going to be all my responsibility now? It was a very scary thought. I knew I had to reach out for help. But to who?

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 924)

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