The Rainbow Girl: Chapter 9| August 14, 2019
Rachelli sat down, too, a little sigh of relief escaping. She and Etty were good again; she needed that
This time, the substitute teacher was young and unfamiliar. Honey-colored hair pulled back with a headband, small gray eyes behind round glasses. Rachelli decided she couldn’t be much older than Tehillah.
“I don’t know why we’re even coming to school anymore, our teacher never shows up,” Tova grumbled. Chaya turned around and gestured to her to be quiet, and the substitute blinked a little nervously and said, “Shh, girls, please continue davening.”
The room quieted. Rachelli stared into her siddur without seeing anything. How long could the façade go on? Would Mrs. Hertz just hide away for the rest of the year? What did divorce mean, anyway? Had it happened yet? Was it happening now? When would people find out?
When Etty stood for Shmonah Esreh, Rachelli startled back to reality. Already, there were murmurings in the room, a few girls putting their siddurim away. Someone opened a bag of chips and there were giggles and crunches from the back of the room. Miss Marcus — the substitute had managed to introduce herself — was trying valiantly to maintain control. Rachelli sighed and turned her attention to figuring out what tefillos she had time to say. It was going to be a long morning.
“I feel bad for her.”
It was recess, and Rachelli perched on her best friend’s desk, thoughtful.
Etty was quiet. Oh, right, she was still upset over yesterday. Rachelli shook her head a little — between her mother’s bombshell, and all the questions in her mind, she’d completely forgotten.
She nudged Etty. “Hey, let’s go somewhere. We need to talk.”
There was enough to talk about, with this new high school business. That must’ve been Etty’s secret all along. And — oh, of course!
“That’s why your phone was busy all those nights, right?” Rachelli half-asked, half-stated. “The school. My mother told me yesterday.”
Etty sat down on the lowest step of the fire escape staircase — it was the quietest place they were likely to find. “Oh, you heard? I wanted to tell you already a few days ago.”
“I know. Sorry. It’s been crazy.” Rachelli chose her words carefully. “Grandparents, Tehillah, you know. And the whole high school application thing... only now I don’t even have to go with Shani, after all that!”
Etty finally smiled. “Yeah, I thought you’d be happy about that.”
Rachelli sat down, too, a little sigh of relief escaping. She and Etty were good again; she needed that.
“So, tell me all about this new high school,” she invited.
Etty leaned in, freckles dancing, wisps of strawberry-blonde curls escaping her pony. “Here goes,” she said.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 773)
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