Kivi felt like he was standing on stage, playing a part in some imaginary performance. 

The Accord was parked on the grass near the bungalow, and Kivi sat on its hood, waiting for Leizer Klagsbrin to show up.

The sky glowed a soft blue and a lazy wind pushed the overgrown grass like a child on a swing. The weather made him feel sort of heady; he wished he were barefoot in the untidy field, running through the crocuses and dandelions with a corncob pipe in his mouth.

He briefly thought of canceling the meeting, calling Malky and asking her to do something spontaneous, anything, really. Buy a little more of what she was calling bein hazmanim, drive somewhere far from Lakewood and enjoy the beautiful day. He would do a farmer’s market, or a walk by the beach — whatever she wanted — just not this, not yet.

He looked at the time on his phone — the kids were in playgroup until three — and imagined her reaction. Malky would probably have plans, she was busy decorating the house and she had an appointment with the baby, whom she thought might need physical therapy but there was no reason to panic yet, and then there was helping Chevy with the upcoming chasunah, but maybe….

He remembered hearing Hirsch, back in Eretz Yisrael, come into shul one Sunday morning and describe how he and his wife had spontaneously gone to Chevron for Shabbos.

“Just like that?” Kivi had trouble processing it.

“Yep, on Friday morning, my wife was already peeling potatoes for the cholent and we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do it,’ it wasn’t a big deal. We just needed to breathe, you know? We took a taxi, just to be safe, and in the Jewish Quarter, we stopped some rando and asked him where we could spend Shabbos. We had a million invitations, it was awesome.”

“Wait, you told your parents? In-laws?”

Hirsch laughed. “Not mamesh. Maybe today we will. We took crazy pictures. Look, it’s now or never, right? This is the time to be spontaneous, later it gets complicated.”

Kivi had gone home and said, “Malky, let’s do something impulsive. Once the baby is born, it won’t be the same. Let’s do something, come on, we’re so boring.”

“Not true,” she’d protested, “just last week we went to Mamilla, remember? Just like that, unplanned, and we ended up having a good time. That was spontaneous.”

He’d nodded. “I hear.” He’d been planning to tell her about Hirsch and Chevron, that he also wanted a story like that, but decided not to.

He looked back at his phone. The Leizer guy was five minutes late. Another five minutes, Kivi decided, and he would call Malky.


Wagner was chewing on a coffee stirrer, listening intently.

“He’s this cute little chassidishe guy, not what I expected,” Kivi was saying, “but I see what you mean. There’s something about him. He’s not cool, or trying to be cool. He seems really sincere, but he’s definitely not typical either. He came a bit late, this tiny guy jumps out of a massive truck and says, ‘Better late than never,’ with this huge smile.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 716)