K ivi Denburger winced as he sat down on the couch. “Ouch, the springs are completely broken!” he exclaimed. “It’s like a bunch of little knives. Malky, the brown couch on Sorotzkin, the one you couldn’t look at — it was more comfortable than this one.”

Malky laughed. “Yeah, but that wasn’t really a couch, it was like a huge pillow. It was terrible for your back.”

She stepped around another of the huge boxes that filled the small living room and squinted. “I can’t read your handwriting, what’s in this box?”

Kivi stood up and looked at the magic-marker scrawl. “Oh, it’s pictures, some of the stuff we should probably hang up on the wall — maybe the one of the rosh yeshivah? Or the one from my seudas preidah?”

“Maybe,” she said.

He caught something in her tone. “What?”

“Nothing, just… this isn’t Sorotzkin, Kivi. I don’t want the walls to look like a succah, you know what I mean?”

“Not sure.” He tried for a playful tone. “And honestly, the apartment on Sorotzkin was nicer. The heat actually worked. The shower had pressure. But I guess here we get an ‘at’ in the name, which counts for something.”

He pointed out the window to the large wooden sign, “The Summit @ Queens Pointe,” which stood surrounded by a rock garden and small fountain.

“And the E in ‘Pointe,’ that’s also something.”

Malky sighed and slit the box open. “Oh, come on, Kivi, it was very nice of Aryeh to do this for us. This is the hottest development in Lakewood, and he kept this house empty all winter for us. Everyone is dying to be on this block.”

Kivi rubbed his back and got back to work on the seforim shrank. “I know, I know, I’m not trying to be ungrateful. Look, Malky, it’s hard to adjust, that’s all. Last zeman, I was in Eretz Yisrael, my biggest worry was running to make the tender to get to yeshivah on time, and now we’re dealing with all of this. It’s a lot to get used to. It’s very overwhelming.”

“Kivi, we knew it was coming. My father was very nice when you said you wanted to stay another half a year after Succos —”

“Yeah, I have no tainehs. Your father was great. He is great. I just miss Eretz Yisrael, that’s all. I’ll miss the Mir every day for the rest of my life.”

“It’s better to leave kollel on a high than to stay too long and leave after you’re burnt out,” Malky said. “That’s what Rebbetzin Horowitz said. You remember the shiur she gave to the people moving back, at Stavsky’s house? I went with Raizy and you babysat? She was saying how lucky we were, we built our home in the best place possible.” Malky smiled at her husband as she said this, as if giving him a gift. “And you learned so well. You really shteiged. And everything has its time and place, and now this is our place.”

It was all so neat to Malky, Kivi thought. Life stacked up in orderly piles like the boxes all around them. Marriage half a year out of seminary, Eretz Yisrael for two and a half years, then back to Lakewood to an apartment in the new development her brothers were building. She wasn’t sure, but she thought her brother-in-law Shimmy was also a partner. Maybe not. Who cares. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 706)