| Cozey Serial |

Upper Class: Chapter 49    

      Why does it feel so good to get things down in writing? And how have I not known about this sooner? 


Sometimes I feel

That if I don’t have a reason to be drained of all energy

If I don’t have a need to make coffee in silence

And drink it while staring at a blank wall

If there’s no particular situation that pops up

While I’m listening to a sad song

And is the cause behind the hot tears that leak out from under my lashes

Causing little gray streaks in between the black

If there’s no excuse for why I focus on the sidewalk while I walk

To the sound my shoes make as they pad along

Then all I have and all I am will fade away

Until I’m just a lonely girl

Drinking coffee

Staring at a blank wall

I close the notebook with a satisfying thwack.

Why does it feel so good to get things down in writing? And how have I not known about this sooner? And how did Ma know how much I would enjoy it?

I’ve been feeling blah ever since I passed my driver’s test. It’s like all the emotions of Shan’s mother coming and then Shan leaving back to Detroit, of Debbi giving our friendship another chance, of passing my driver’s test on the first try, swelled into a ginormous wave that has since crashed back onto the sand.

Wow. I’m like really dramatic.

Who knew?

Someone knocks on my bedroom door.

“Come in,” I call out.


“Debbi?” I sit up straighter, smooth down my hair. “Hey! What’s up? Did I miss your call?”

She shakes her head. “Nah, I didn’t call.”

I look at her, head tilted.

She looks sad. And tired.

And that’s when she starts crying.

“Naomi,” she says, sitting heavily on my bed, “is it too soon to start talking about deeper things?”

I close my eyes and reopen them. “Not at all,” I say, sitting next to her. “Never too soon. Talk to me, Debs.”

She laughs shakily. “Why do I feel like the tables have turned? It’s just that this whole year, while you’ve been busy, my relationship with my mother has been… crumbling.”

I bite my lip sympathetically. “Oh, Debs, this is my bread and butter. Tell Dr. Naomi everything.”

She laughs through her tears. “I know. Why do I feel like our lives have switched?”

I grin. “Nah. I’ve just had years of experience with this, so I’m here to give you hope. If I got through it, so will you.”

We settle on the floor with pillows, popcorn, and music.

And so the rest of the evening passes with tears, laughs, and maybe the first real deep conversation Debbi and I have ever had in all our years of friendship.

* * *

Libby’s Shabbos Kallah prep is in full swing and I’m torn between feeling psyched out of my box and strangely emotional and sad.

Libby herself is the picture of calm; she’s just sailing around the house, a serene smile on her face.

Ma, on the other hand, is hustling and bustling. She bursts in the front door with a giant bouquet of mazel tov balloons and then disappears to pick up rugelach and cookies.

“Ma,” I say, when I’m finally able to catch her on her next landing, “I have my license. Why don’t you ask me to pick things up?”

She looks so relieved I think she might cry.

“Naomi! Yes, please! Can you run to ShopRite and get soda? And seltzer! And also Ziploc bags. And then, can you pick up Yocheved? Zev went to a bar mitzvah for Shabbos and took the car.”

I blink. “Yes, yes, and yes. But wait, if Zev went to a bar mitzvah, then who’s watching Levi for Shabbos?”

Since the aufruf was last week, due to some sort of family obligation on the chassan’s side, all my sisters are able to come for the Shabbos kallah this week without their kids.

Ma blushes. “Well, yes, Levi is coming for Shabbos as well.”

For a moment, all my past frustrations rise to the surface. I clench my fists, and then feel the keys I’m clutching bite into my fingers, reminding me that I’m past that stage, that I drive now, and I’m on my way to adulthood, whether I’m ready or not.

So it won’t be a sisters only Shabbos.

So Levi will be there, too, and yes, I’ll probably be the one tasked with keeping him entertained.

But so what.

He’s working on himself, at the ripe old age of four.

I can do the same.

“Cute!” I say with as much cheer as possible. “We’re going to have fuuuun. And yes, of course, ShopRite and then Yocheved’s. You got it, Ma.”

I think I stunned her into silence. I take a quick glance in the mirror, smooth my hair, straighten my Alo sweatshirt, and head out jauntily, swinging my keys.


I turn back, Ma is standing in the doorway, a funny look on her face.

“Naomi, I was thinking. I know we’ve never done it before, but would you like to get your makeup done for the wedding? I think you’re old enough. And more than mature enough.”

A smile spreads across my face. “Only if you do, Ma. Only if you do.”

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Treeo, Issue 996)

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