"A

vigayil! Come to RaRa. Come to RaRa!” The baby bares her teeth at me in a grin and backs up several feet. Hadas snickers.

I’m on my hands and knees, trying to convince baby Avigayil to crawl forward, but it doesn’t seem to be working. The baby backs up several more feet and comes to a reluctant stop at the edge of the couch. She whines, annoyed, while we all laugh.

“I totally know that feeling,” I say, hopping to my feet and going to redirect the chubby little girl. Hadas gets up as well. “What feeling?”

I grin and sink onto the taupe loveseat. “You know, where you reach an obstacle and instead of trying to figure out a solution, you just wait for it to get out of your way.”

Hadas raises a mock-judging eyebrow. “Lazy, anyone?”

I make a half-hearted swat in her direction. “You’re mean.”

She cracks up and I’m filled with a warm glow. I’m just so comfortable with her. I’ve known the girl for a grand total of ten days and I feel like I’ve known her forever. Okay, maybe not forever. Rus and Shiri, I’ve known forever. But definitely more than ten days.

She sinks down next to me. “We need cookies, no?”

I nod in agreement. “And iced coffees.”

She wrinkles her nose. “Let’s convince Sari and Michal that their new life’s ambition is to make us snacks.”

I grin. “You’re on.”

We spend the next 20 minutes cajoling the two girls until they agree just to make us stop talking.

An hour later we’re all eating zebra cookies and drinking vanilla milkshakes — their translation of our orders — out on the patio.

“Mmm, this is the life,” I sigh, staring out at the rippling pool.

Hadas nods lazily and licks chocolate off of her fingers. “It really is. But wasn’t life kind of perfect back in Brownsfeld?” she asks quietly. “I mean, from the way you talk about it, it doesn’t even sound real.”

I blink. “Really? To me, it was always just… normal. But I guess it is very—”

I stop, trying to think of the right word. “Easy,” I finish. “Everything there was simple. And easy. I guess I took that for granted.”

Hadas is quiet. “That’s a shame,” she finally says. “ ’Cuz nothing about Stonesworth is simple or easy.”

And with that ominous declaration we finish our snack in silence.

We walk the Lane later. I’m wearing a T-shirt and sneakers again, because honestly, I don’t care what Stonesworth says, it’s a thousand degrees and I need to be comfortable. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 718)