I t was 1:07 a.m. according to the red digits on the oven timer. The night was young.

Gita switched off the flame. The lamb smelled heavenly. She covered the teriyaki sesame salmon tightly and put it in the fridge. Dovid wandered in and lifted the pot covers. “Looks good. How you doing?”

Gita put up her fingers and checked them off. “Still have to do the minute steak for the second night. The Yerushalmi and apple kugel. The berry-sauced sponge cake. Wait, I’m forgetting something. What goes with the roast? The shallot and potato knish, right.”

“I’ll do it,” he said.

“You don’t have to.” But relief crept into her voice.

“I’ll do the kugel and the shallot potato thingie. You wanted it in pastry?”

“It’s a potato dough, look.” Gita had the cookbooks piled on the counter, open to the recipes she wanted.

Dovid ran his fingers down the recipe. “Yeah, okay. I remember this one. But I’m gonna use leek for the shallots. The caterers are putting out leek soufflés.”

Gita bit her lip, then breathed out in a hiss. “No problem.”

There was a silence as they worked on the Yom Tov dishes, measuring ingredients for each other in a familiar ritual. Gita felt for the something that had shifted between them in the last few months, but it seemed temporarily evaporated in the fragrant kitchen air.

“Larry’s coming for second night, right? He gets more interested every time we learn,” Dovid said, shaking pepper over the Yerushalmi kugel batter. “He’s learning a lot by himself too. You remember they couldn’t get over the galleh, the first time they came, for the Shabbos Project. You think we should serve it when they come?”

Gita finished beating and carefully poured her batter into the Bundt pan. “Hmm, if you want I can take some out. Serve it with the steak, like a relish.”

“’Kay, good. Could you check five eggs for me?”

Over Yom Tov it was easy to forget. Dovid was home on Chol Hamoed, as he’d always been, and they spent the days on family activities, trips, and cooking, and meals in the succah. On Isru Chag, Gita left the washing machines on and took the kids over to say goodbye to her parents.

“I’ll come along,” Dovid said.

“You don’t have to.”

“Yeah, but why not, if I’m around.” He took a scarf and lifted baby Chayele into her infant seat.

As she’d thought, it was awkward. It felt kind of like bein hazmanim in those sweet, early kollel years, before Dovid had joined Grayson and Pearce as a Junior CPA and spent every day beside Sunday working in the city. And everything had been just fine with that. She looked at him sideways, and saw he was in regular black slacks. A professional no more. At least he wasn’t wearing his chef’s shirt.

“Two evenings on this week,” Dovid said to her, as they drove out of the development. “Tuesday is the Laufer bar mitzvah, 120 people, and on Thursday a yahrtzeit siyum in Melnick’s house. I’m meeting with Duvi Koppel Thursday morning also, to see if we can put together a Shabbos sheva brachos packages for clients of the Ateres Bracha hall.”

He sounded excited. Gita could not think of anything less exciting than Dovid catering Shabbos sheva brachos. “Mmm,” she said. “Leah, close the window.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 591)