"S

o,” Shana said, perching on a stool and looking around.

Daddy plied her with a roll and a glass of citrus punch, and then went back to hovering over Darrell, who was whipping up Shana’s lunch.

“So,” Kaylie echoed. “You’re awesome, Shana, just flying in like this.”

“Great surprise.” Binyamin nodded. “We’re anxious to hear your take,” he added quickly. He poured himself a glass of punch, then changed his mind and offered it to Kaylie. “Every step we took to try and make things better only seems to have backfired.”

Kaylie raised her eyebrows. Binyamin bit his lip. Wrong thing to say. But there wasn’t anything right to say.

Shana was still frowning. “Where’s Mimi? She wasn’t serious about walking out, I’m sure. I told her she’s—”

“I just spoke to Mimi, actually,” Mommy said. “I’m going with her to talk to Bea.”

“Bea,” Kaylie said. “Oh.”

Mommy sighed. “Marcy won’t be thrilled, but we need Bea here, and we’ll speak to her about coming back.”

Binyamin clapped his hands, nervous, hopeful. “That would be incredible. But what are the odds? If things were so bad for her that she actually left, why would she come back?”

Mommy shrugged. “Her choices are not in my control. I can only try, and that I will.”

Julio burst noisily into the kitchen. Shana moved out of the kitchen with Kaylie, Daddy drifted off.

Binyamin shrugged. Maybe he should go back for his vending machine lunch. If only he could stop, just stop, let go of everything.

Kaylie popped her head into the kitchen. “Binyamin! I’m so sorry, I forgot you’re probably hungry. Let me get you something to eat.” She let out a breath. “Or maybe you can get something yourself, it’s just so hectic in the office.”

“Sure, of course. You want a chicken salad? I’ll bring it into you.”

She smiled gratefully.

Binyamin clenched his fists. It was awful, Kaylie being so overworked and he not being able to wave a wand, making all her troubles vanish. But what could he say? Mimi will come back, you’ll see? What if she wouldn’t? Or, you’ll hire some help, don’t worry. But it wasn’t just the overwork that was getting to her, anyone could see that.

He found Shana in a corner of the dining room, looking frazzled.

“I just finished delivering a full account of my husband, kids, apartment, gan, and what I eat for breakfast.” She nodded meaningfully in the direction of the Ungarischer sisters. “Oh, look, Mr. Brecher is still here. He didn’t change at all.”

“Why would he change?” Binyamin winked. “He’s perfect. Unlike many other people I know.”

“Not bad, the décor,” Shana said in an even voice. She was eating a potato salad, with curls of red onion, bits of sparkling pickle.

“Right. So now that you’re here, Zoberman’s needs help. This family needs help. What do you suggest?”

Shana shrugged. “What do I know? I just came to show my face, show that I care. Much as I love this place, it’s not my responsibility.”

He stood up. He should really go and get that chicken salad. Kaylie was probably starving. “So you’re giving up?”

“Excuse me, but it’s not giving up,” Shana bristled. “It’s called, um, how does it go? Having the courage to change the things I can change, serenity to accept the things I can’t. Something like that.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 601)