| The Rainbow Girl |

The Rainbow Girl: Chapter 1

The rink was a study in contrasts: dark figures against white ice. Rachelli flexed cold fingers; she should’ve kept her gloves on.

“But with gloves, I wouldn’t be able to draw,” she remarked to her best friend Etty, who’d stepped off the rink to grab a drink. “Don’t you just love the action going on there?”

She tilted her head back toward the skaters, simultaneously taking a long swig from her water bottle. “Go back on without me, I’m just going to sketch this, okay?”

Etty giggled, freckles dancing across an up-tilted nose. “For the yearbook? You’re too much, Rachelli.”

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea, but it’s not for the yearbook. Just for me.”

Etty curled up on the bench and gestured expansively. “Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. You won’t be long, will you?”

“Give me five.”

Rachelli leaned forward, bottom lip caught between her teeth. The grouping was almost perfect — girls linking arms, some skating alone, two girls figure-eighting in the center. Her pencil flew across the page; beside her, Etty crunched on Bissli and provided background commentary.

“I think you drew the Meyer twins too big, they’re further back, and— hey! Shira just fell over, ouch!”

Rachelli tuned the voice out. Etty was a great friend, but her drawing, her rules…

“I’m so glad our class won the contest for being on time. Totally worth it, no?”

“Mm-hmm.” Just one more pencil stroke, some shadow on the ice, and she’d be done.


She held the quick sketch away from herself, admiring the effect. “Yeah?”

“Why d’you never draw with colors?”

The question caught her off-guard. Everyone knew Rachelli and her pencil collection, the soft black lead, the thick and thin and razor-sharp, her charcoals and skill for shadowing. For some reason the question bothered her. “More to schlep around?”

Etty frowned.

“Rachelli, Etty, what are you doing here?”

The girls startled. Morah Hertz stood behind them, eyes narrowed behind metal-framed glasses. Her sheitel was perfectly straight, every layer in place, and dark eyebrows arched across her forehead.

“Um, getting a drink?” Etty offered.

Morah — or, in another world, Aunt Yocheved — turned to Rachelli. “And what about you?”

Instinctively, Rachelli clutched her sketchbook tighter. “Drawing,” she said, something rebellious making her voice defiant. “The ice rink with everyone on it... for the yearbook. There’s no rule against that, is there?”

Morah Hertz’s eyes narrowed even more, until she was practically squinting. “So, chutzpah as well?” she said softly, but in a voice icy as the rink itself. “You may remember that you were all given instructions at the beginning of this trip to stay together. Taking a drink is one thing, but sitting out here to do your own thing was certainly not appropriate. Go back on the rink, please, and try to follow instructions. And next time, Rachelli,” she said, giving her niece a hard stare, “leave your own activities to your own time.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 765)

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