The Knight Costume| February 24, 2021
He’d help Reuven find a costume, Yoni decided, but he wasn’t telling Reuven about his own
"This year,” Yoni’s mother said, adjusting the strap on his costume, “Aunt Mindy and Uncle Aharon are coming to Bubby and Zeidy’s Purim party with Temima. And the rest of the cousins and aunts and uncles will be there too.”
Yoni stood in front of the mirror. The bow and arrows hung on his back, his armor shone, and the sword rested in its case. He thought he looked almost like a real knight.
“This will be the greatest Purim ever,” he said. “The whole family will see my costume at the Purim seudah, and even Reuven will jealous.”
“They always love your costume,” his mother said. “Last year Bubby told me—”
“Bubby didn’t notice anything, even though I had the best costume.” Yoni shook his head. “She was too busy with Reuven because his family was in the hospital and he was there all by himself. This year my costume’s better, though. And Reuven’s family’s will be coming, too.”
“I’m glad Temima’s well enough for them to join us this year.” His mother smiled. “Put your costume away and go over to Reuven’s. We’ll work on the mishloach manos next week.”
Yoni nodded, taking the bow and arrows in his hands and studying them. “You won’t tell anyone? I want to keep my costume a surprise.”
His mother nodded.
Yoni and Reuven were walking home from school together like they always did.
“What are you wearing to the school Purim party?” Reuven held his sweater in one hand and bounced a ball with the other.
“It’s a secret,” Yoni said. The whole class would love it. No one’s costume would look as good as his and he was sure he’d win the Best Costume award.
“I don’t have a costume yet,” Reuven said.
The class party was in a week, Yoni thought. Poor Reuven. Yoni had his costume for weeks already, and he’d already bought all the mishloach manos candies and packages, and Reuven didn’t even have a costume yet. Was Aunt Mindy too busy to help him?
They reached Reuven’s house, and Reuven stood by the gate with Yoni, in no hurry to go inside.
Before Temima was born, Yoni remembered, Aunt Mindy would have cookies on the table, and he’d come over, and they’d play outside. Now, there were no cookies and the house was full of Temima’s machines and any game they wanted to play was too loud for her. Reuven’s house wasn’t fun anymore.
Reuven stared at Yoni. “Will you help me think of a costume? I don’t know what costume I can put together so close to Purim.”
Yoni imagined Reuven coming to the party in the fireman costume, like last year. The whole class thought it was babyish, and Reuven went home crying. He couldn’t let it happen to Reuven again, Yoni thought. He had to help him.
“I guess I can help,” Yoni said.
What if Reuven liked his idea and also dressed up as a knight? Yoni panicked. No one would notice his costume. They’d all be too busy looking at Reuven’s and how he got it together by himself, because Aunt Mindy was too busy. It would ruin everything.
He’d help Reuven find a costume, Yoni decided, but he wasn’t telling Reuven about his own.
Later that week, Shaina stuck her head into Yoni’s room. “Yoni, Reuven’s coming over.”
“Reuven?” Yoni stopped frozen, halfway in his closet, with mishloach manos candy packs and wrappings in his hands. “Mommy said we’d make the mishloach manos today.”
“Aunt Mindy went to the hospital with Temima.”
“Again?” Yoni sighed. So they couldn’t make the mishloach manos, after all. There was no way he was letting Reuven see them and take his costume idea, even if Reuven didn’t have a costume yet.
Yoni wanted to help Reuven, but what was he supposed to do? He didn’t have any other good costume ideas to give Reuven.
The class party was in two days, though. Aunt Mindy couldn’t get Reuven a costume in time, Yoni realized. She might not even have time to buy him one before Purim.
What if Reuven didn’t get any costume? Yoni wondered. He’d wanted everyone to like his costume at the family Purim seudah, but he hadn’t wanted anyone else to not have a costume. He just wanted his to be the best.
He stuffed his mishloach manos candies back into his closet and stared at them, thinking.
What could he do to help Reuven?
Three years ago, they dressed up together, Yoni remembered. Aunt Mindy had time to help, then, because Temima wasn’t born yet, and they’d had the best costume and the whole family loved it. He’d liked dressing up with Reuven then because Aunt Mindy had the best costume ideas.
Maybe he could do the same this year, Yoni thought. He looked at his armor and weapons on the shelf. There was extra armor that his mother bought just in case. And he had a bow and arrows and a sword. He didn’t need the bow and arrows once if he had a sword, he thought. He could give them to Reuven, and they could be two knights.
Was that really what he wanted? Yoni scowled and slammed the closet door shut. No!
Reuven would have his parents and a sister at the Purim seudah. And Bubby and Zeidy would give him the most candy again, like last year. Yoni was sick of Reuven getting everything. He didn’t want to share his costume idea too!
Reuven would find another costume. He didn’t need all of Bubby and Zeidy’s attention, the most candies, and Yoni’s costume.
Reuven opened the door to Yoni’s room. “Want to look through your family costume box with me?”
“My mother’s too busy with Temima, I’m not sure how long they’ll be in the hospital this time, and there won’t be time to buy a costume. There are lots of costumes in your box from Baruch, Chumi, Nosson and you. I’m sure I’ll find one for me.”
Yoni’s eyes narrowed. He remembered the costume Reuven found last year, and how babyish their class thought it was, and how the Schwartz twins laughed at him at the family Purim seudah because they didn’t know Temima was sick. And how Reuven ran out the room, crying, and Bubby went after him and gave him all her extra candy and Aunt Fraidy didn’t let the twins have dessert.
Was he really letting that happen to Reuven this year too, just because he wanted his costume to stand out? Yoni wondered. They could be two knights. Reuven would be so happy, and everyone would notice their costume because it would be his and Reuven’s, not only his. They could dress up together like they used to before Temima was born.
“You’ll help me look?” Reuven said.
Reuven didn’t want to use the old costumes from the box, Yoni thought. It was only because Temima was sick and Aunt Mindy didn’t even have time to buy him a costume and he couldn’t wait for her any longer.
It wasn’t fair. Reuven didn’t want a boring costume. It wasn’t his fault that his sister was sick and his mother had no time to help him.
Yoni threw open his closet doors. “I want to show you my costume first. It’s my favorite one ever.”
Reuven stared. “I thought it’s a surprise.”
“It is.” Yoni handed the arrows to Reuven and watched him wishfully run his fingers over them. “Do you want to dress up as knights together?”
“You’re serious?” A smile spread across Reuven’s face and his eyes lit up.
Yoni was surprised at how happy he felt, too.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 850)
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