| The Rainbow Girl |

The Rainbow Girl: Chapter 10

The words were cold, icy even. Rachelli shifted in her seat. Mrs. Hertz had just walked in. Why was she angry already?



The news had spread overnight. It was obvious to Rachelli as soon as she entered the classroom. She nearly turned around and walked right back out again.

“Did you hear?” Shira squealed, running over when she came in.

“Obviously she knows, it’s her uncle.”

“When did you find out?”

Where on earth was Etty?

She shrugged off a dozen questions. “I don’t know anything, really, just what you know.”

Chaya banged on her desk. “Everyone, be extra good in class today.”

Rachelli wanted to roll her eyes. Like being extra good in class would help. The divorce became official yesterday, Mrs. Hertz’s life was falling apart, surely, she’d realize why the eighth grade was suddenly behaving like a class of angels.

“Is she even going to come?” Etty asked. She was looking at Rachelli, and everyone seemed to be eyeing her expectantly.

“How should I know? She’s been out of school for ages already.”

“She’ll have to come back sometime,” Tova said.

“Unless she’s quit her job.”

The door slammed open. Rachelli jumped. The classroom fell instantly, eerily silent.

But Mrs. Hertz looked exactly the same as always. Same pendant necklace and straight black skirt, same pale-pink lipstick and dark eyeliner.

“You can sit down.”

The words echoed in the room. Mrs. Hertz looked around, up and down the rows, surveying the scene.

“I’m glad to see you all remember your usual standards of behavior.”

The words were cold, icy even. Rachelli shifted in her seat. Mrs. Hertz had just walked in. Why was she angry already?

A few girls shifted uncomfortably. Mrs. Hertz didn’t even take off her bag, just stood to one side of the desk.

“I am very, very disappointed in you girls.”

Some of the girls shifted uncomfortably, and Chaya gave a pointed look at some of the noisier members of the class. So this was all about the substitute then — Miss Marcus.

“A substitute teacher is there to take the place of your regular teacher, and there’s no reason to behave any differently than you would have had I been in the room.”

The long pauses between sentences were making her want to scream. Rachelli’s fingers itched for her sketchbook, but it was probably tightly packed inside the brown bag on Mrs. Hertz’s shoulder. Now she would never get it back. With Mrs. Hertz on the warpath, what were the chances she’d let her ex-niece off the hook?

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 774)

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