| Serial |

Trust Fund: Chapter 30

She was a woman with everything except the one thing she really wanted: an attentive husband, in tune with her needs.


Akiva grinned wryly, piled his plate with an assortment of cheeses and Israeli salad, and waited for an individual pan of fresh shakshuka.

The hotel breakfast hype was real and Akiva appreciated that in a program. Libby wasn’t coming down; she was tired and had requested he bring a plate up for her and the kids. He was just making them portions when he heard the unmistakable sound of Menashe hissing from behind a Greek pillar.

“Because I can’t! I told my father I’d make these calls. Dassi, just drop it, okay? It’s speedboating, not our wedding anniversary.”

Akiva winced and waited a beat before casually walking around the pillar. Menashe was nowhere to be seen but he spied his sister-in-law, white-faced and drawn. He thought of Libby, practically hyper in full vacation mode, tan and chilled.

He felt terrible for his sister-in-law. She was a woman with everything except the one thing she really wanted: an attentive husband, in tune with her needs.

But he’d been Menashe. He knew what it was like to feel invisible strings tying you to Daddy’s every whim; to feel that choking sense of obligation and familial duty. Between a rock and a hard place, and there was no room for wives who didn’t get it….

He bit his lip. There was only so much he could say to his little brother. The rest would have to play out by itself.

But he could daven. And he would.

He rode the elevator up, still lost in thought, and stopped outside the suite door.

Throwing back his shoulders, he threw off the melancholy draped around him like a tallis. His family was enjoying the Frankelness of this vacation. He wasn’t going to ruin that.

“Okay!” he said, knocking and bursting inside. “I have enough breakfast for all the hungry people. And then who’s ready for some speedboating?”

The sun beat down on the cabana, transforming the water into a sheet of reflective glass. Libby blinked and tried to open her eyes, then gave up.

There was no need to get up just yet, anyway. Veronica was watching the kids down by the pool, the men were on a tour of the Old Synagogue, and Bedikas Chometz wasn’t for another six hours.

Dassi sighed from somewhere to her left, and to her right, she heard Shira cooing to her baby.

Mom and Meira were discussing seating for the Seder over by the bar. The old Libby would have felt compelled to appear interested and passionate over the seating part of her duty as wife of the oldest Frankel. But now she lay in the sun, relaxed, and admitted to herself that she couldn’t care less where anyone sat tomorrow night.

It hadn’t been easy, deciding to join the family for Pesach. They’d gotten so used to saying no over the past year, to mouthing the word firmly while their adrenaline raced as they combatted their desire to cave.

She thought fleetingly of Succos, of the labor of love of cooking for her family, of decorating the succah, and the subsequent Chol Hamoed road trip. Did she miss it? The domesticity, the feeling of creating a Yom Tov for just her husband and children, of having the atmosphere of the Yom Tov dependent upon her alone. She did miss it, although she’d be hard-pressed to get off this chaise and do anything remotely productive right now.

He’d said no at first, Akiva. Especially when an official invite had arrived from his parents the next day with matching Van Cleef for both of them. He’d sent the gifts back, of course, but then they sat down and discussed it.

“Zeida wants us there,” Libby had said simply.

And that was really all there was to it. Because you can make many cogent arguments, have convoluted opinions about chinuch and the benefits of hard work, but at the end of the day, the years were slipping by, and if you don’t spend time with your loved ones now, you’ll regret it later.

Which is what Libby told him in not so many words.

And here they were.

Deena couldn’t believe it. She kept double-checking all the way to the airport.

“We’re really going to Spain?” she said. “Not to some bake-your-own-matzah workshop in Monroe?”

Libby had bit her lip: Her eldest was cheeky but funny.

Akiva was trying hard not to get sucked into the Frankelness of it all, but to be honest, it was kind of contagious. Libby had smirked when he’d automatically tipped the concierge upon entering the resort. He’d always done that, said it ensured the hierarchy, but he’d looked embarrassed afterward. She’d hastened to reassure him that she also appreciated good service, but it was going to be hard, balancing everything this Yom Tov.

Not to mention the comments that would be flooding in like a burst dam.

Menashe had already made some lovely ones, like “I guess it wasn’t the concept, it was the location?” to which Akiva had replied snarkily, “Oh, yeah, now that I’m working so hard, I wasn’t going to take a day off for Cancun.”

Meira snorted at that, and Libby had almost jumped to Akiva’s defense, but then caught sight of Dassi’s flushed cheeks.

Menashe was embarrassing her by being petty, and Libby wasn’t going to call further attention to it. Besides, she and Akiva didn’t put that much weight on Menashe’s opinion either way.

Of course, when Mom sniffed about having to practically shove people handcuffed to their first- class seats, it was an entirely different story. Or when Meira commented on how Libby’s kids’ outfits were stunning, but they didn’t match everyone else’s and would throw the photos off.

Then Libby had to remind herself that they were there for family time and nothing else.

Well, maybe just one other thing….

“I’m not going.

I’m flying back home.”

She swallowed a smile and put on a calm, airy-fairy tone.

“Oh, I guess you can do that, although second days would get a little lonely for us. Or, you know, you can put on your big boy shoes, pick up your favorite sticks, and go live out a dream of yours.”

Akiva looked a little green, so he put on his big boy shoes, then ran to the bathroom to be sick. She heard him washing up, and smiled sympathetically when he returned.

“Feel better?”

“No,” he croaked.

Okay, her mollycoddling wasn’t working, time for tough love.

“Too bad. Show time!”

When the Israeli superstar had called Akiva a few weeks before, he’d practically dropped the phone.

“WHO is this?” he’d asked three times.

Once he’d established it was exactly who he thought it was, he couldn’t help asking.

“Why would you want me to drum in your Chol Hamoed show? I’m a newbie, and you’re, well, you.”

The singer had laughed. “True. But some older man who seems to be running things told me to ask you, so I did. I won’t regret it, will I?”


Akiva had sputtered. “No! No, you won’t.”

The singer had laughed again. “See you in Madrid, achi.”

Now, Akiva gave a little moan and shakily left to live out his dream.

She looked in the mirror and gave her reflection a little smile. They’d come so far in the past year.

Traveled miles upon a road she had no interest in walking. And yet somehow, along the way, she’d found things she hadn’t even known she was looking for.

She stuck out her tongue; too much introspection wasn’t good for the soul. At least not right now.

Not when her husband, the calm, responsible, trust-fund boy she’d married all those years before was about to bang on some drums to his heart’s content with a superstar in front of hundreds of people.

She smoothed her The Find dress down, tucked a sheitel strand behind her ear, and turned to join the concert.

She may not be a big drum fan, but the truth was, she’d honestly never been prouder to be Akiva Frankel’s wife.



(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 998)

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