I’ve snagged an invite to her house. So what if it’s to study and do homework together? I know we’re both looking for a friend
Somewhere deep in the dusty recesses of my brain, I recall hearing that once upon a time people thought that Jews had horns. But I didn’t know anyone still believed that.
I look at this girl standing in front of me, this oh-so-Christian Katybeth-not-just-Katy, and I realize that despite all the times I’ve moved, I’ve never encountered anything like this. Her face is so earnest. She actually believes that Jews have horns!
“Have you ever met a Jew before?” I ask.
“Have now,” Katybeth answers.
“Well, we don’t have horns. That’s a myth.”
She looks at my frizzy hair. “You could be hiding horns in there.”
“Well, I’m not,” I say. And all I want is to be done with this ridiculous conversation and be far, far away from her.
“Okay,” she says. “Can’t fault me for askin’.”
I nod, even though I do, 100 percent, fault her for “askin’.”
Large drops of rain begin to fall, and I am so, so grateful for this second yeshuah today. “I guess I better get going,” I say, wondering if I need to lie and say “nice to meet you.” Instead I say, “See you around,” and with that, I head back to my house.
“Wait,” Katybeth says. “I just want you to know that if you want to get into Heaven, all you have to do is accept—”
“Uh,” I say, not waiting to hear the rest, “gotta run!”
When I get home I’m all wet — splattered with Southern raindrops and big, fat tears.
Thankfully, things with Aliza, my newfound sneaker-wearing school acquaintance, are really looking up. Not only is she also new, also in seventh grade, and also in my class, she shares a lot of the same interests, like reading, cooking absurd gourmet recipes, listening to music, and schmoozing about anything and everything.
I quickly discover that she’s an only child and she’s got a huge room — with a sleeper sofa in it for guests — and has her own big, beautiful bathroom. While I’m not an only child, I don’t have a sister of my own (nor do I have my own bathroom), so the thought of this friendship developing into a sisterhood of sorts is awfully appealing and I’m already daydreaming.
By the end of my first week in school, I’ve snagged an invite to her house. So what if it’s to study and do homework together? I know we’re both looking for a friend.
I’ve never been to a home like Aliza’s before. It’s massive, and professionally decorated. Their exclusive neighborhood is situated along a picturesque pond. And she has one of those big trampolines (way, way before they were “in”). Aliza’s parents are kind and warm and accepting, and I feel comfortable and welcome in their home.
As the days turn into weeks and then months, my friendship with Aliza grows. Before you know it, we’re besties, and when we’re together, I feel much more empowered. The other girls at school no longer intimidate me, I learn the ropes, get cooler shoes, and my “newness” fades into the background.
Things are turning out way better than I ever could have hoped.
(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 775)