| The Road Home |

The Road Home: Chapter 5

She is yelling. She is panicking. She is already crying.Then she grabs my wrist so hard it hurts

You can see half the Earth, all blue and green and beautiful. And lying on one side of this half-planet is a deliciously fluffy and fat gray cat. On the other side is a similarly ridiculous cat, only that one is calico. Above them is the moon, but instead of craters pockmarking its surface, it’s decorated with hearts.

I look at the picture for a long time, remembering the way I felt when I first saw it. Then I flip open the card. “No matter where you are, you’ll always be looking at the same moon as us,” it says on the inside. The card is signed from my entire (former) class.

You don’t lose everything you had when you move. Those things become part of you, and you’ll carry them wherever you go, no box needed. Everywhere you go, you’ll take us with you too. And in the same way, you’ll stay here with us, in the friendships you formed and the strengths you contributed to the class. Distance is just a test to see how far you can travel. Wishing you all the…

I read the note my former teacher had written on behalf of the class. When she had given it to me before I moved down south, I hadn’t really understood what she’d meant about distance. But I had loved the card with its heart-covered moon and wildly furry cats and its message. Every time I looked at it, I felt encouraged.

But now, reading it again from this place — an older, more experienced place — and on the verge of another move, I feel like I finally get the message about distance. “This is just a test,” I tell myself. “You’ll see how far you can go, who you can become.” It’s a lesson my parents have tried to teach me. But some things can’t be taught. You have to learn them yourself, you know?

Suddenly the new, sparkly bracelet my friends gave me back in Boston isn't so daring. It's a new style for me, a symbol of boldness; I’m not going to let this life, this move (again!) get me down.The glitter is a glitter of happiness and hope. Yup, I will keep my chin up. I will, I will, I will.

And with that, I go to break the news to Aliza. That will not be easy. But the sparkly girl can do it. She can do anything. I hope.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 777)

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