Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chapter 7: The Flower Seller

This matchmaking business wasn't working out the way she'd planned. Shulamit opened the folder again, slammed it shut. Nothing had changed. No blue papers had miraculously flown into the file overnight. She still had almost no boys, just a thick stack of pink papers, one for each girl looking for a date.

Finding girls hadn't been a problem. Wherever she went, she kept an eye open, for the ponytails, the braids, and the bobs. She'd gotten bare head spotting down to a fine art. Shulamit could tell the natural hair from the wig, even when she was five rows behind in Shul, down a supermarket aisle, or across a wedding hall. Once she'd satisfied herself that the girl wasn't married (and also wasn't a minor), she'd pounce. They'd usually agree to come over, to be interviewed. (True, after a tiny little bit of effort on her part.)

With boys it was proving to be more of a problem. Where were they hiding? What a stupid question. The boys were all in Yeshiva of course. How would she get to them there?

She could make a sign. "Shulamit the Shadchan. Call me!". She could ask Dovid to go round the Meah Shearim, hang up the ads in the study halls. No, that wouldn't work. She could hardly start interviewing strange guys in the living room. Abba and Ima would never agree to it.

What a mess. Why hadn't she thought of this before. How was she going to keep all her promises now?

Shoot. The doorbell was ringing. "Dovid!", she yelled, "Someone at the door!". Let him answer it, she had bigger things on her mind.

Oh right, Dovid was at the grocery store. She'd promised to make his favorite peanut butter brownies, if he went to buy the ingredients.

There was a knock, this time. Two gentle taps, and a pause. Didn't people realize she had a business to run here? She gave up. She'd go see what they wanted.

The door swung open. Shulamit found herself looking at flowers, a big bunch of pink roses. A boy was holding them. He thrust them towards her, wordlessly. Had Abba invited Shabbos guests again without telling them? Now she was going to be stuck with playing hostess until he got back.

"Hello", she said, trying to look welcoming. "Do come inside! Would you like a drink?"

The boy looked rather surprised. Hadn't he known about her? Was he the type of Yeshiva boy who wouldn’t eat at homes where there were girls? Then he smiled. "Thanks, that's so kind of you to offer. I really could do with a glass of water"

As he stepped over the threshold, Shulamit saw a bucket, by the elevator outside, behind where he'd been standing. He'd been blocking it from view before. It held a mass of color, of life. The bucket was filled with flowers- roses, and gardenias, and orchids- Shabbos flowers.

Oops. He was the flower seller. Not a Shabbos guest. But she couldn't throw him out now. Besides, his face was red, his black hair clung damply to his forehead, there were wet patches on his T-Shirt. The poor boy obviously needed a rest.

"You know, I've been going door to door, all morning, lugging around this bucket, and even though it's a heat wave outside, you're the first person to offer me a drink!"

Shulamit gestured wordlessly at a chair, went to the fridge to get a bottle.

"I never realized how much work it was to sell flowers! When Motty woke up sick this morning , and asked me to do his round for him, I figured it was as good a way to spend a Friday morning as any.
He didn’t stop talking, now he was given the chance.

"I don't have Seder on Fridays. So I figured I'd do him a favor. But I guess I'm out of shape, Gemorra learning isn't exactly physical."

Shulamit stopped, her head bent over the plastic cup she was handing him.

He wasn't a regular flower seller. He was learning in Yeshiva. He was a Yeshiva boy. In her house. Without her even needing to post ads. Thank you God.

She looked up at him, a big smile on her face. "Take your time! You need to cool down in the air conditioning for a bit!"

She went over to the table, pulled out a blank piece of blue paper, from under the file. She picked up a pen, and sat down opposite him. Now all that was left was to find out what he was looking for. He had to be right for somebody, out of all the pink papers. The Shidduch was as good as made.


  1. is shulamis ur shadchan? ;-)

  2. He's obviously not that frum because he's not strict about yichud

  3. I was worried about that, but I never actually said they closed the door to the house, so I figured that's OK.
    I guess I should explicitly say they left the door open, or maybe have Dovid stay home. What do you think?

  4. Or have him kindly turn down the drink, despite his exhaustion, and stay in the doorway. Good midot.