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More or Less: Chapter 6

Esther Kurtz

“How much do they cost?” Ari asked it innocently, and seriously, it scared me. There was no way I’d let him spend that much money on me

Wednesday, January 09, 2019




e found parking on 5th Avenue, not bad for a Motzaei Shabbos. I wasn’t sure why Ari went there, was he taking me to the Apple store? I checked the Kosher Near Me app — what restaurants were near here? Noi Due was a bit far, Café Classico was closer, but not my speed.

As we got out of the car, Ari spread his hands out magnanimously.

“Let’s shop,” he said.

My eyes bugged, he couldn’t be serious. “It’s 5th Avenue,” I said as if that would explain the ridiculousness of his proposition.

“I know. Don’t you think I heard enough lines about how the best shopping is on 5th Avenue?”

“Best?” I scoffed. “Try most expensive.”

“Which is often the best.”

“Yes, but.”

“Look, there’s Louis Vuitton.” Ari pointed. “You have a bag by them, you obviously think they’re good enough, let’s get you a matching something.” He walked to the store entrance, smiled at the security guy standing outside, and reached for the door.

I waited till we were out of security’s earshot and said, “But I bought it secondhand in Century. And I used a holiday bonus. I would never buy full-price.” I suddenly noticed the scuffs on Ari’s shoes, I looked at my own — at least they were Stuart Weitzman.

Ari looked amused. “How much do they cost?” He asked it innocently, and seriously, it scared me. There was no way I’d let him spend that much money on me.

“Too much.”

Ari frowned. “You know I can just look at tags.” He bent to examine a kitty keychain left on a display case. There was a small tag, I watched him glance at it, saw his eyes bulge. Told you so, I thought smugly.

“You weren’t kidding,” Ari said. He put the keychain down more delicately than he picked it up.

I started walking back toward the exit, and thankfully, Ari followed.

“So how much did you pay for your bag?” he asked.

“Not telling,” I said, giving him a sly smile. Honestly, I was mortified at the price.

Back outside, we walked toward 5th Avenue. I stopped a minute to peer at Saks’s windows. Window shopping was allowed.

“Oooh, I’ve always wanted to do that,” Ari said. I looked up to see Ari pointing at a horse-drawn carriage, the oldest of New York clichés and rip-offs.

“No way,” I started to protest, but Ari had already run ahead and hailed an empty one. He was sitting in the carriage by the time I caught up with him.

“Sorry,” Ari said as I climbed in next to him. “It was the only way I could get you to get over yourself.”

I laughed. He was right. I relaxed for a moment as the carriage clopped around 5th Avenue, Columbus Circle, and Central Park. I tried not to breathe too deeply — horses and all that.

“What time is it?” Ari asked. I shrugged and I took my phone out.

“Eight o’clock.” I kept my phone out, Ari gave me a look. “I’m just sending Miranda a quick response, let her know I’m not an idiot and she can’t play with me.”

Ari shrugged, I took that as okay.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 625)


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