| The Road Home |

The Road Home: Chapter 4

Dear Mali,

It sounds like you already feel at home in your new city! That’s awesome.

Can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since we saw you. Aliza sounds cool and super fun. Just don’t forget about your ol’ pals back in Boston. We really miss you. Any plans to visit? Nothing new here. School’s still the same. Can’t wait for summer. We just had a sleepover.

Love and misses,

Leah and Didi

I read the letter a second time and then looked again at the photo they enclosed. My old friends are sticking out their tongues at the camera and making bunny ears behind each others’ heads. What fun girls! We celebrated our bas mitzvahs together. It seems like a zillion years ago already.

I sort through my pile of stationery and note cards, looking for something cute to write back on. Within a few minutes, I’ve composed a response and drawn some fun doodles on the envelope, decorating it with some bold and colorful stickers for good measure. As I seal it and get up to look for stamps, my mother comes into my room with a soft knock.

“So, I was just talking to Dad,” she says.

I’m surprised. Dad is away on business, and he never calls in the middle of the day. Long-distance calls are expensive so this “extra” call must have been an important one.

“And…” Her voice trails off and she looks out the window, toward the big tree behind the house.

I watch her expectantly, my stomach doing flip-flops. Mom’s always so confident and self-assured. This. Is. Not. Good.

“And he says that we’re going to be moving again this summer.”

There. She dropped the bomb.

I don’t even have time to react. My brain just starts shooting questions out of my mouth, like some overcooked food exploding in the microwave. Where? When? Why? So soon? And she calmly answers each one, her voice heavy with apology. It’s never been like this before, never been so fast, so sudden, so unexpected. And not only that, Mom has never seemed so unsure of herself. She’s always been a rock-solid pillar of strength. What’s going on?

She leaves the room and I look at the letter I’ve just written to Leah and Didi. It’s totally out of date already, before I’ve even sent it. I decide I will send it anyway. Let them get one happy, newsy letter about my adventures with Aliza before I share this earth-shattering news.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 776)

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