| Serial |

Trust Fund: Chapter 27

“Libby, you know them. They’re unwavering. They don’t change and they don’t accept change. What’s the use?”


OF course, Faigy Meyers was her very first customer.

“I’m actually not handling,” was all Faigy said for the first ten minutes as she made the rounds throughout the showroom.

Libby beamed. She’d put so much into this, and now she felt as proud as a new mom cradling her first.

Perched at her pretty white desk, she pretended to tap away on a laptop, but really, she was spying on Faigy, who was leaping around the room gleefully, rubbing fabrics between her fingers, checking linings, and poring over the size chart.

“Um, Libby?”

“Mm-hmm?” She took a minute to look up.

“I’ll take one of everything in both Raiza and Leah’s sizes.”

Libby nodded placidly, and walked over to the large storage closet in the hallway like she did this every day. But inside, her mind was fist pumping the air to the tune of, “We’re actually doing it!”

News spread quickly. Firstly, that Libby Frankel’s house was just as stunning as you’d imagine. And secondly, that The Find was fabulous and amazing and must be your first stop for spring, which was just around the corner.

She’d been disappointed not to make the Chanukah deadline, but as her trusty business consultant had pointed out, better to be everyone’s first stop for spring than their last for winter.

One afternoon, she’d spent a while replacing the show pieces — Esther Baker had purchased all the size 90s — and was more than ready for a break when Deena came clomping down the stairs, munching an apple.

“Hi, Ma.”

“Hi, cutie, how are you?” She looked up and smiled. She had a lot to smile about, at least as far as her daughter was concerned.

Ever since joining Chrein, Deena had — well, maybe not transformed, but definitely matured somewhat.

“Music,” Akiva had said wisely, “lends true discipline.”

And while that might be true, Libby still found it hard to label the clashing and clanging noise Deena produced as “music.”

But hey, she was the tone-deaf one.

Akiva was having just as much fun with Bass-less. But it was coming at a steep price. No more family brunches or Melaveh Malkahs. The only relatives inviting them anywhere, actually, were Zeidy and Bubby. And while Akiva had lamented the pressure of needing to be at constant beck and call of his family back in the day, Libby could see how it hurt him to be left out.

“Don’t they realize,” he said, over a dinner of fried tomato grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries, “how happy I am?”

Libby delicately caught some trailing cheese and draped it over a fry. “No, Akiva, they do not. And thanks for making dinner by the way. Sheva Bayer was only able to come in the afternoon and we got caught up filling her order.”

“Nice. And no prob. Just call me Akiva Ramsay.”

“Mhhhm,” she said, glad her mouth was too full to answer. She swallowed. “Anyway, Keevs, I’m sorry, but you’re being just as clueless as they are. They want you to see how you’re embarrassing them, and you want them to see how happy you are, yet neither of you are actually communicating.

“And as much as I loooove being the monkey in the middle, nothing’s going to change unless you change it.”

Akiva crumpled a napkin angrily. “Libby, you know them. They’re unwavering. They don’t change and they don’t accept change. What’s the use?”

Libby looked at him steadily. “Oh, really? Because I recall a Motzaei Shabbos, not too long ago, where you changed your entire life, and while they weren’t thrilled, for the most part, they accepted it with grace and dignity.”

Akiva dropped his gaze. “You’re right. That’s true.”

She nodded, trying to keep the smugness off her face.

“But—” He looked at her. “I can’t give up drumming, okay? I just can’t.”

The bell rang at exactly four o’clock. Wow, Chedva Drang was punctual. Libby buzzed her in and then sat, trying to looking busy and welcoming at the same time.

“Uh, hi.”

She startled. It wasn’t Chedva Drang.

Libby closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then reopened them. “Dassy!” She drew on every ounce of Frankel polish she possessed. Her tone was light, smooth.

“How are you? How was your trip upstate? You look great, is that a tan I see?”

Dassy sat down on a cream velvet pouf, looking 15 instead of 25.

“Thank you. Uh, yeah, it is. Also, Libby, I came to say I’m sorry for yelling at you like that. Maybe you shouldn’t have spoken to Mom about me, but that trip with Menashe… it was exactly what we needed.

“I feel different. Like I finally have a team. Someone who sees me and cares about what I want and need.”

Libby tapped into her wells of self-control and didn’t roll her eyes. Be supportive, be supportive, she coached herself silently.

“Dassy, that’s great. I’m really happy for you.” Of course, good Jewish mother that she was, she then felt compelled to give advice.

“But you know these things take time, right? Like if he’s sometimes supportive, but other times, seems the same, that’s normal.”

Dassy crinkled her nose. “Yes, bossy big sister. I know.”

Libby laughed. “I really am bossy, it’s a problem.”

Dassy stood up and hugged her. “It’s not such a problem, actually.”

A buzz sounded through the showroom. “Okay, now Chedva Drang really is here. You can stay if you want….”

Libby felt silly suggesting her sister-in-law view her pieces from China when she could buy the entire stock if she wanted to, but Dassy nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes! I’m pumped. Omigosh, Libs, these are gorgeous!”

She waved modestly and tried not to glow too much from the praise.

Later, Akiva popped into the room as she was saying Shema with Mali. He gave the little girl a kiss on her forehead, then turned to Libby.

“Why,” he whispered far too loudly, “is my annoying baby brother inviting me out for dinner, just the two of us?”


To be continued…


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 995)

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