F

ridays in Stonesworth consist of school until 11, and then meeting your friends on the Lane for lunch. Mommy seemed amused by this when I told her. “And when do they help their mothers make Shabbos?” she’d asked knowingly. Sari, passing by, had snorted. “Stonesworth girls don’t help their mothers,” she’d explained. “Gwendoline and Veronica do. The girls just need to get their manis and blowouts, and be home in time to take pictures before Shabbos starts.” Mommy had raised her eyebrows and handed us a basket of laundry to fold. “Well, then I’m very glad that my girls are Brick girls and not Stonesworth girls.”

So basically, there was no way I could join Hadas at Petite Pizzas for a mini-pie after Navi class.

Day two at BYS has been uneventful so far. The girls I sit near are nice, and Tamara had waved and flashed me a sunny smile from the front of the room before resuming conversation with her three besties. I got to sit with Hadas and giggle over pictures of Avigayil eating watermelon, red clumps clinging cheerfully to her double chin.

Once, when we laugh a little too loudly, I look up and find Tamara staring at us. I quickly duck my head, but my laughter is a bit more subdued after that, something Hadas must sense, because she puts away her camera and sits doodling quietly until Morah Minkin enters the room.

But I still couldn’t join her for pizza without making it into a Brick Family roundtable discussion, something I wished to avoid at all costs.

“I can’t come,” I say apologetically. “I wish. My mother totally doesn’t get the whole ‘Friday’ thing.”

Hadas nods in sympathy. “Okay, Michal and I will eat a slice for you.”

I giggle. “How altruistic of you.”

She cracks up. “I try. A true tzadeikes, that’s me.”

We split up by the gate with a round of see-you-laters. We’d be joining the Shimonis for the seudah later, so honestly, there wasn’t really that much to do at home.

I run through the checklist as I walk up Pine Street. Bake a cinnamon Bundt cake for Shabbos breakfast, wash the dishes after lunch, bathe Simchi, set up the candles, and vacuum the reading nook. After Mommy had placed beanbag chairs in there and Abba had built a gorgeous bookshelf, the cozy nook by the landing had quickly become my favorite place in the house. Maybe if there was time after chores, I’d curl up with the new Benjy Stein boo—

“Hey RaRa.” I glance up, startled, and there’s Tamara, sporting a huge pair of Fendi sunglasses, a short pale pink bomber jacket somehow turning her Bais Yaakov uniform into something far trendier.

“Tamara! Hi,” I blush, thinking how I must have looked, wandering up Pine alone, lost in thought.

“You off to the Lane?” she asks, smiling warmly.

I blush again. “Nah, my mother needs my help.”

Tamara looks surprised. “She does? That’s adorable. Good for you, RaRa.” She pats me on the shoulder encouragingly; I blink. (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 724)