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Trust Fund: Chapter 26

She gripped her phone and tried to tamp down her annoyance. “Akiva! I am okay with it. Your parents are not”


Score, score, score.

She was just getting around to opening the last box and the crochet toy rattles were exactly what she was looking for. She couldn’t find the exact same thing in China, but had found something that looked close enough, and the crochet and wooden rattles were even cuter than they’d looked on screen.

She laid them out on a cream velvet tray and arranged the tray artfully in one of the Ikea Kallax boxes the fourth guest room was now filled with. The middle of the room held a small table and chair, also in cream, with a single gold notebook and matching pen lying delicately on the surface. The entire room was a study in understated elegance.

“And the best part,” she said to Akiva, “is that the price for this elegance is affordable. Manageable. Obtainable.”

For someone who had lived the past 15 years in a reality consisting of the opposites of all of those adjectives, she was ridiculously happy about it.

Almost too happy to ruminate over the fact that Akiva was firmly in the doghouse. And she was on thin ice again, after opening her mouth about Dassy.

Akiva lay down on the plush carpet. Libby had asked him to take off his Manolos.

“The rug is just so clean,” she’d said apologetically.

Clean rugs. It was a trite metaphor, but she couldn’t help comparing it to Mom and Dad’s Persian rug. Hand-knotted, antique, and covering mounds of dirty family laundry.

Akiva looked at her upside down. “It feels good,” he said, and he paused for a tremendous yawn, “to look around at something we made happen with our own two hands.”

Libby was tempted to Lone Ranger his “we,” but he was right. While he may not have worked as hard as she had, he’d definitely done his part.

“Our first ads came out today,” she said instead. “We have WhatsApp blasts, a small ad in the local classified, and a full-page ad in the Neshei newsletter.”

Akiva, still on the carpet, pulled out his phone. Libby sat down on her chair, feeling very businesslike, and pulled out her own.

The Find.

Tiny things for tiny people at tiny prices.

Collected by: Libby Frankel

Call or WhatsApp

The graphic was a whimsical dandelion on a gingham background.

They both sighed in appreciation. It was perfect.

“Okay!” Akiva jumped to his feet. “Gotta get moving. I need to stop by the house, see what the contractors are up to, then I have — get this — band tryouts! Some heimish band saw me at the bar mitzvah and asked me if I want to play at a chesed concert Sunday night. Isn’t that a riot?”

He slipped on his shoes, smoothed his shirt, and then seemed to realize Libby hadn’t actually answered him.


She turned to face him slowly. “Uh, Akiva. I really don’t think you can try out for a band right now.”

He looked shocked. “What? Why not? I’ll tell every musician about The Find, I promise!” he winked.

She smiled. “Thanks for that. But, uh, no, think about your parents. I told you how upset they were.”

Akiva sighed. “Oh, come on. Do they really care what I do in my free time? Scratch that, of course they do. But Libby, you really think that means I shouldn’t go?”

Libby’s phone rang just then. She looked at the screen. Dassy.

She looked up at Akiva, torn.

“Take the call,” he advised. “I’ll call you before I try out, okay?”

And then he was gone before she could protest.

Sighing, she picked up. “Hey, Dass, what’s up?”

“Did you speak to Mom about me?”

Ohhh, boy. Libby sucked in air. “Hi to you too, hun. And I didn’t really speak to her, I just suggested that she could be a bit more supportive.”

“Well, thanks a lot, Libby. She’s being so supportive, she’s asked Menashe to take me upstate for the week. Without the kids. I don’t want to go upstate, Libby. I want to be home, with my children.

“But of course, if I protest, then I’m making waves. Next time you want to ‘mention’ something to Mom, stick to your own drama, okay, and leave me out of it.”

With one last sob, she hung up, leaving Libby staring at her phone in shock.

How deep does dysfunction have to run, she wondered, wiping a tear off her cheek, for good intentions to turn a bad situation even worse?

Was the kids coloring on the walls a new thing, or had they done it Before also, but Vanessa had cleaned it before she ever set eyes on it? Either way, she was not amused.

She made a mental note to rid the house of all markers that could potentially make their way down to the pristine showroom, then scrubbed a bit harder. The stain was definitely lightening, thank You, Hashem.

Her phone rang.

She was really sick of the thing, to be honest. She was sick of everything, now that she thought about it.

It was Akiva.

She picked up and tried to keep the reluctance in her voice to a minimum.

“Hey, how are you?”

He was laughing with someone, and there was loud music playing in the background.

“Libs? Hey! The contractor meeting went great, this flip is going to be slow but sure, you know? I’m at tryouts now for Bass-less.”


“No, Bass-less. The chesed band I told you about.”

“Oh. Cute name.”

“Yeah!” Akiva’s enthusiasm was punching a ten. “So it’s almost my turn, but I’m just checking you’re okay with this.”

She gripped her phone and tried to tamp down her annoyance. “Akiva! I am okay with it. Your parents are not.”

Well, that punctured his enthusiasm instantly. “Libby, right now my priority is you, okay? I’ll speak to my parents later. Wish me luck!” And then he was off before she could say anything else.

Well, that was just great.

Dassy hated her, Akiva was playing drums with a bunch of older men who all thought they were in high school, and her in-laws were going to die of embarrassment if Akiva became the drummer in Bass-less.

At least The Find WhatsApp was blowing up!

She couldn’t help the slow smile spreading across her face. Life was a mess, but her business was off to a promising start.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 994)

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