"S

o then she walks right over to the doctor and says, ‘I left in the middle of a film shoot to make sure my mother-in-law’s okay, and you’re telling me you don’t have the time to see her right now? Well I’m going to stand right here until you find the time!’ ”

Atara did such a good job imitating her mother that the girls around her were in stitches. Huvy watched as Dini and Malka exchanged enraptured looks and whispered, “She’s adorable!”

“And then what happened?” asked Aliza, wide-eyed.

Atara flipped her hair. “Whaddaya think? The doctor had no choice. He went straight to Bubby’s room, of course!”

Everyone laughed, proud of Rina’s victory. Huvy felt a surge of pride, as well. This was Mommy, at her best.

This was Atara at her best, too. Performing to an adoring crowd. Just like their mother.

“This is cute, the bunkhouse,” Atara said, looking around. “You guys must be having a ball. I wish I could stay here.” She sighed.

“What, you didn’t come here to stay?” asked Malka.

“Nah, Mommy just brought me up for a few days, to visit. We’re going back for Shabbos.”

“Well, why don’t you ask your mother if you can stay on?” asked Dini. “I’m sure she could find you some role in the film. After all—” Here she paused significantly. She didn’t have to finish the sentence; all of them knew what she was referring to. “And, anyway, you seem like such a natural actress!” she finished brightly.

Once more, she had no need to state it explicitly — unlike Huvy. Huvy felt her cheeks turn red. She stared down at the book she had open in front of her.

Atara gave an exaggerated shrug. “What can I do? It was my mistake — I didn’t try out. But don’t worry, next film, I’m for sure going to. Anyway, I guess it’s for the best. With Bubby in the hospital, of course I want to be around to help and to visit her.”

“She’s Huvy’s grandmother, too, and Huvy’s here,” said Malka pointedly.

Atara raised her eyebrows, and Huvy’s heart started to pound, knowing what was coming next. Oh, why couldn’t she be cute and bubbly and quick on her feet like Atara, able to come up with a great distraction right now? Instead, all she could do was listen helplessly as Atara continued.

“Bubby’s not actually her grandmother. She’s my father’s mother.” As she saw the confused looks around her, she added, “Huvy’s my half-sister, didn’t you know?”

“Really?” Dini and Malka exchanged significant looks, though what, exactly, was significant to them about that information, Huvy could only imagine. She had never deliberately kept the fact of her parents’ divorce a secret — but, then again, she didn’t go out of her way to spread it either. And since Dini and Malka were hardly in her small circle of friends at school, she wasn’t shocked that they hadn’t known these details of her personal life. Until now.

Thanks, Atara.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 612)