| Cozey Serial |

Upper Class: Chapter Fifty

We don’t need each other anymore, and without that, the friendship doesn’t hold much weight

The wedding was incredible.

An absolute fairy tale. Libby looked like a princess, my gown was not regular, and Ma and I both got our makeup done. We looked nothing like ourselves but it was a blast. Us sisters did some crazy shtick with nurses’ coats and stethoscopes, and Libby was the perfect kallah, dancing with everyone and not seeming overwhelmed at all.

And now it’s over.

Libby and Yoni moved into Lakewood proper, and even though it’s not far, I really, really miss her.

The house is so much emptier without her, even though she was hardly home. And it’s strange to be the only bird in Ma and Tatty’s nest. But hey, I’m going to milk it for all its worth. After all, in two years, I’ll be in seminary im yirtzeh Hashem, and they’ll be alone. I need to give them a reason to enjoy that hard-earned quiet. Tatty and I have started going on nightly walks, and the rest of the sisters find this extremely adorable. Which, let’s face it, I am.

I lay back on my pillows, and I give Shan a full wedding run-through. She’d wanted to come to the wedding but I’d convinced her it would be a waste of money and had promised to go through every detail with her afterward.

“...and then Gersh started breakdancing for the chassan, except, hi, spoiler alert, he doesn’t actually know how to breakdance,” I say laughing.

Shan is quiet, which is totally awkward. “What? Oh, sorry, Nomes, my friend Breindy just walked in. Ohmigosh, that must have been hilarious. And how are Libby’s sheitels?”

I start to tell her how Libby looks stunning and very grown up, but Breindy, apparently, has a huge mouth, and can’t stop talking.

Shan shrieks with laughter and then says into the phone, “Nomes, can I call you back? I’m being rude here.”

Yes, you are, I want to say, but all I say is, “Sure. Bye, hon.”

“Bye, crazy kid.”

She hangs up.

I sit back on my bed, feeling dejected. Already I feel her slipping away, like all the time we spent together, all those nights in her car, were a distant memory that belonged to someone else. I wait to feel sad, but all I feel is a sort of fondness, like my friendship with Shan was from years ago instead of weeks.

And I realize that I had needed Shan for that time just as much as she had needed me, if not more.

But we don’t need each other anymore, and without that, the friendship doesn’t hold much weight.

And I’m okay with that.

Debbi and I are getting closer by the day, and Zeesy even called me the other night, and we had a great conversation while I organized my closet.

Ma, who has been strangely aimless since the wedding last week, pokes her head into my room.

“Naomi? How are you, sweetheart?”

I’m about to throw out a “Fine,” when I look at Ma.

She actually wants to know how I am. It matters to her.

I think of Shan’s mother telling her she can leave, Debbi’s mother not understanding, and I look at my own mother/teacher and mechaneches.

Of all the things I could never have predicted for this year, a newfound appreciation for Ma is top of the list.

But it’s also the one I’m most grateful for.

“Confused,” I say, laughing a little. “But that’s par for the course with being 17, right?”

Ma laughs. “It is, I guess. But you’re doing great, you should just know. I’ve raised many daughters, and you might just be the most mature at this age of them all.”

If Ma had told me that she was secretly a Mossad spy, she could not have shocked me more.

“Reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallly,” I say gleefully. “Can I get that in writing?”

Ma smirks. “How about that stays between us?”

I look at her. “Should we seal this deal with some          fro yo?”

Ma laughs. “Are you asking me to buy your silence? I’m in. Meet you downstairs in five?”

I nod. “I’m excited.”

Ma leaves to get her purse.

“Can I drive?” I call after her.

“Nope!” she calls back.

Ma has a strict rule that she will only get in the passenger seat with one of her children after they’ve driven for five years. It’s a fair rule, but I’m betting that Ma will shorten it for me.  After all, stranger things have happened.

Like Ma and me choosing to go out for ice cream together.

I mean, really. Who would’ve thought?

Truth can be so much stranger than fiction.

And spoiler alert: so much better.

Am I right?

The end


(Originally featured in Treeo, Issue 997)

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