Friday, May 21, 2010

Chapter 26: Enough is Enough

"There are no words for this perfection. No mortal expression can capture the sublimity of your creation." Dovid took another bite of cheesecake, and rolled his hand around his stomach, to show how much he was enjoying it.

"Thank you, thank you." Shulamit grinned. "So your big sis' is good for something, eh?"

"Shulamit, you outdid yourself this year." Ima said. Shulamit's annual Shavuos cheesecake was a family tradition.

"At least she's making the most of all the free time on her hands." Abba said. "Better a gourmet cheese cake than another hare brained scheme."

Ima turned and frowned at him. At least on Yom Tov let there be no disagreements.

"Actually, I have some amazing news!" Shulamit said, turning to her father. "Just wait till you hear this!"

"Well go on then." He said, cutting himself another slice of cake.

"I met this girl at the wedding last week, and I realized she is exactly the type of girl that Daniel is looking for! - Remember Daniel? He came to sell flowers that time when there was a mix up – Anyway I called them both and they agreed to go out!"

Shulamit beamed, as her eyes darted back and forth between Abba and Ima and Dovid, to capture the excitement she knew would be reflected back at her. She waited, but none of them smiled, or said a word. There was silence.

"Aren't you pleased?" Shulamit said slowly.

Ima spoke. "We were hoping you would have better news for us."

"What's better than making a Shidduch? Do you know what a Mitzvah it is?!"

"Matchmaking is indeed a great thing." Abba said. "But 'Aniyei Ircha Kodmin', the poor of your own city come first. What about you Shulamit? When will you stop with this game and focus on your own life?"

"Abba's just worried about you." Ima said. "I also am. We all are."

"But you promised! We agreed on this! You said it was O.K!"

Dovid poured out some of the fancy white wine Abba had brought home. Nobody was looking his way. He tried to pretend he wasn’t there. Girls, and their endless melodrama! Thank God he only had one sister. Although she was a jolly good cook.

"Shulamit, we agreed that you could take a year off to focus on your studies." Abba said, glancing between words at his wife for confirmation. "We weren't expecting you to launch a neighborhood campaign to marry off every girl aside for yourself!"

Now Shulamit was the silent one.

"If marriage is so on your mind, why don't you try to get married yourself? Isn't it time? Haven't you waited long enough?"

"I can't believe you're speaking to me like this. How can you forget what I went through? I need a break. I can’t deal with it anymore. And besides, I need to focus on my career. The religious fashion world needs me."

Dovid picked up a Bencher, and launched into a loud, if off tune, "Shir HaMaalot." He figured the meal had gone on long enough. Why couldn't his family be normal, like Yitzy's family ?

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