I quickly shut the lid and slam the drawer closed. The bell doesn’t stop ringing. Who could it be? I sprint to the door and squint through the peephole.

“Hurry up! Open the door already!” Someone in a uniform is standing on the other side of the door. What’s the meaning of this? I fumble with the locks. Leaving the chain lock attached, I open the door a few inches. “Registered mail!” the impatient mailman declares, thrusting a clipboard with a pen attached by a string. “Sign right here!”

“I’m only 12,” I tell him. “Can I sign for it?”

“Sign! Sign! Sign! The post office doesn’t know how old you are.”

I scribble my name and slide it back to the man who is bouncing up and down in his eagerness to finish the transaction. He shoves a business sized envelope covered with official stamps and stickers into my hand. By the time I raise my eyes again, he’s gone and the passage behind him is empty.

I study the envelope. It’s addressed to my parents, so of course I won’t open it. The return address is embossed in Hebrew, Arabic, and English letters. It says “Abdul Raful Safadi Attorneys at Law.” I run my fingertip over the unfamiliar words curiously before putting the letter on my father’s desk.

A moment later, I recognize my mother’s knock at the door, so I open the chain lock and let her in. Yaeli runs circles around me, her face shining. “Would you believe this little girl can swim?” Ima asks proudly.

“No, she’s too little!” I reach out to catch her but Yael scampers to the other side of the room, her giggles tickling my heart. “Keh!” she manages to insist, her head bobbing with supreme concentration. “Keh! Keh!”

“She really can,” my mother translates, so I realize that Yael’s “keh” is “can.”

“Yay!” I sweep Yael up high in triumph. “Supergirl!”

I turn to my mother and whisper, “Really? She can swim?”

Ima smiles and nods. “With a tube. She kicked her way from one side of the pool all the way to the other.”

“I’m impressed,” I tell my foster sister. “You’re remarkable!”

Yael flashes her dimples at me, and I wonder how we lived before she became part of our family.

We’re still standing there when Abba comes in with his briefcase. He stays a few minutes to acknowledge Yaeli’s brilliance for being able to “swim” and then excuses himself to go into his study. “Abba,” I call after him. “A registered letter came while you were gone. I put it on your desk.”

The air seems to freeze around me. I sense my mother stiffen. In the first second I see alarm in my father’s expression before it melts into a smile. “Ah, thank you, Meir.” After a brief pause he asks offhandedly, “Did you sign for it?”

“The postman told me it was alright.” I hesitate. Did I make a mistake? (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 714)