| Cozey Serial |

Upper Class: Chapter 44

“Debbi won’t talk to me, Shan keeps trying to talk to me, and I’m enjoying Ma’s classes. So everything is both boring and crazy”


Chanukah brunch Sunday after Shabbos Chanukah has been a long-standing tradition in the Taub household. Ma wakes up early, makes everyone’s favorite breakfast foods, sets them up along the counter, buffet-style, and then goes back to sleep for a few hours. Chanukah vacation is one of her only breaks from school, and she takes full advantage. We also eat a lot of takeout and go out to a restaurant as a family at least once. No complaints here; I love Chanukah with the fam. I try not to think about next year; Libby married, and just me and the parents. Hmmm, I actually wouldn’t mind it that much. Strange.

A sound from the other side of the table makes me look up from my plate of berries.

Libby has taken to muttering lists of things she needs to get done. Literally, girl sits at the supper table, mumbling like she rides the subway.

I tilt my head to listen to her conversation with herself, almost knocking over the syrup.

“Alterations. Shoes. Scrapbook. Sheitel. Alterations. Shoes.”

Wow, getting married in two weeks is stressful. I contemplate this as I slide a third pancake onto my plate.

My phone buzzes. I ignore it and chew carefully, humming. My phone buzzes again, and then again while I’m rinsing my plate.

“If you don’t answer that, I’m going to have to throw it against a wall,” Libby says calmly.

Wow, getting married in two weeks can make you crazy.

“Okay, simmer down,” I say, grabbing the phone protectively. “It’s just Shan.”

Libby stops threatening and looks sympathetic.

“Oy, hon, what’s going on?”

I shake my head. “Nothing, actually. Debbi won’t talk to me, Shan keeps trying to talk to me, and I’m enjoying Ma’s classes. So everything is both boring and crazy.”

Libby grins. “Status quo, then?”

I smile. “Pretty much.” Then I take a fourth pancake, just, you know, to keep the number even.


My gown is stunning. It’s pink, which is totally my color, and it’s all tulle and chiffon and just perfection.

I wish I could plan hairstyles and makeup trends with Debbi, but she’s not actually speaking to me. I think of asking Shan, but she would just have over-the-top ideas that aren’t actually coming from her but from her random group of park friends.

I spin in front of the mirror. The gown rental has  terrible lighting but it’s still gorgeous.

Ma looks up from grading papers, reading glasses on her nose.

“Oh, Naomi, you look beautiful.”

And it’s interesting how I notice my initial reaction is to roll my eyes.

I catch myself and offer a slow smile instead. “Thanks, Ma.”

Ma blinks so hard, her glasses slip further down her nose.

I can’t say I’ll always be able to catch myself, always be able to make the right choice. But at least I know now that there’s a choice, that being a teen doesn’t mean you have to act on every emotion you’re flooded with.

Because honestly, most of them make no sense. Am I right?

Shan texts again. Ma has the phone, she passes it to me, eyebrows raised at the “7 text messages” notification.

“I’m ignoring her,” I say.

Ma nods.

I nod back.

Ma sighs. “Why are you ignoring her?”

I shrug and fluff the skirt of the dress. “Because I don’t know what to say to her.”

I head back into the dressing room and emerge in my uniform, feeling slightly deflated. It’s much more fun being a princess than a schoolgirl.


I answer when she calls. It was just getting ridiculous.


Silence. Then, “Hi, Naomi. What’s up?”

I hear the shake in her voice and tears spring to my eyes.

“Just super busy with wedding prep.”

“Oh, cool.”


“Naomi, can we go out soon? I’ll pick you up in the car?”

NO! We cannot go out. I have mixed emotions about you and our friendship and really, everything in my entire life.

“I have a lot of studying to do,” I say aloud. “Anything in particular going on?”

I hear her gulp, and I know she’s trying not to cry. I know her really, really well, I suddenly realize.

And that makes me feel both sad and glad at the same time.

“Just someone I want to introduce you to,” she says.

I sigh. Please don’t let it be some sort of forbidden relationship. I have zero patience or interest. I totally don’t understand what she sees in that entire group. They make too much noise and they never seem to actually be there for her when she needs a friend.

But hey, I try not to judge.

But then she whispers: “My mom showed up.”

And, well, now I’m actually speechless.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Cozey, Issue 991)

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