"Yes, speaking." she said.
"Hi!" his voice became more confident now. "It's me, Daniel, remember? I was at your house."
Of course, the flower seller. Shulamit recognized his voice now, with its tinge of a British accent.
She wondered why he was calling. They hadn't spoken since that Friday. She'd promised him that she'd phone, as soon as she thought of a girl for him. But none of the girls, summarized neatly on the pink papers in her binder, seemed right
"I was thinking about what you told me" he said. "About, being a matchmaker...?"
"Yeah." she said. Wondering where he was getting.
"Well, Shidduchim haven't been going so well for me lately, so I was hoping we could meet and discuss your ideas" his words came out all in a rush.
"Oh Daniel, but I don't have any suggestions at the moment."
Was this was it felt like to be a matchmaker? Turning down people asking for help?
"Still", Daniel said. "Maybe if we meet and discuss things, you'll get a better idea of my personality, of what I'm looking for, and you'll think of someone then."
Shulamit murmured acquiescence. She couldn't say no, the boy was obviously desperate to get married, and she had promised to help him.
"How about I pay?" Daniel said suddenly, as she reached for her purse.
"No, that's ok" Shulamit said, as she scrambled around in the overstuffed compartment, searching for her wallet. ״I brought money"
Daniel laid his credit card on the leather tray, "Are you sure?" Daniel asked. "It's much simpler if I just pay"
Shulamit laid a 50 shekel note on top of the card.
"Fine. Split it fifty- fifty" Daniel told the waitress.
"My dish cost more than yours." Shulamit objected. "I should pay more."
She reached for the bill, to see how much it came out to. The bill had only one amount on it, she saw, the total. Obviously the waitress had expected Daniel to pay for it all.
Shulamit looked up; the waitress and Daniel were both still staring at her. Daniel looked annoyed, embarrassed. She felt rude, as if she was doing something wrong.
"Oh alright then, fifty-fifty" she said. The waitress departed.
"This was a great idea of yours!" Shumalit said, with a big grin, looking across at him, trying to cover up the awkwardness of the bill. Did Daniel have some peculiar idea than boys must always pay? How ridiculous. It's not like this was a date or anything.
"I've got a much better picture of your personality! It's so interesting how you became religious while you were in university in England! I really admire that."
Daniel just nodded.
"I'm sure I'll be able to find the perfect girl for you! I have a lot of friends, and I'm meeting girls all the time, and one of them has got to do."
Her voice trailed off. The waitress was back, again placing the leather tray on the rippled glass table. Daniel reached for the slip, to sign. Shulamit reached behind her chair, for where her bag was now hanging.
"Leave it. I'll pay for the tip" he said, while he was scrawling his name on the paper.
Shulamit wasn't going to agree. With friends she always split the bill equally, right down the middle. But Daniel still looked a bit upset. Had she made him feel emasculated or something? Boys could be funny sometimes. She put down the bag.