Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Bricks and Ladders: Chapter 40

Ariella Schiller

I suddenly want to freeze the moment and lock it away for every rainy, turbulent day that I know is just around the corner in my messy, confusing life

Wednesday, January 09, 2019


 grab my Coach flats, slip them into a shoe bag, and add it to the growing pile of things on the rug. Perusing my list, I count. Three dresses, two skirts, two sweaters. Tights, pj’s, toiletries. Jewelry, rain boots, snow boots, booties. Okay, it’s a lot for a five-day trip, but hello, I need to be prepared for every situation. I feel a flutter of excitement and I can’t help the wide grin spreading across my face. I’m seeing Rus and Shiri! And Mommy arranged that I can sit in on one day of classes in Bais Yaakov, just for the fun of it. I smile, imagining myself in a super awesome outfit while the rest of the girls are in dorky uniforms. I straighten my shoulders and toss my hair. I was bringing Stonesworth to Brownsfeld. Oh, it was going to be fun.

My mouth waters as I imagine sipping a strawberry shake from Berry’s and suddenly, I miss Brownsfeld so much, it’s an actual physical pain.

Right on cue, my phone rings. “Shiri!” I screech.

I hear laughing and then both Rus and Shiri are talking at once.

“Sleep by me first! Then we’ll—”

“And pizza with whole class—”

“Sledding and snowtubing down Grove, my mom says that—”

I’m cracking up. “You guys, I don’t understand a word of what you’re saying but I’m so excited I can’t breathe!”

I hear Shiri’s mother in the background and then Rus says, “RaRa, we have to go, Shiri’s mom’s taking us nosh-shopping! We need to give you the royal treatment, after all.”

“Aw, you guys! I can’t wait. Loooove you.”

I hang up, still smiling, when my phone buzzes.

We’ll think of you when we’re swooshing down Black Diamond.

Kisses. T, R, B, and T

And suddenly, a pizza party with Bais Yaakov of Browsfeld doesn’t seem that exciting anymore.




I lug my bags down to the entranceway and find Sari setting a backpack down on the floor. I blink, so surprised that I forget we’re not on speaking terms. “Is that all you’re taking?”

She looks at me, with my wheelie, backpack, and oversized tote, and I wait for her to smirk, mock, taunt.

But all she does is nod and I wonder if she’s as tired as I am of fighting.

Tzippy bounces out of the dining room, a smile playing around her lips. She spots us, and the smile dies before it even has a chance to live.

“I thought you’re not leaving until tomorrow?” she says.

“We’re not,” I say quickly, seizing the opportunity to answer her. “Just putting our stuff down now, ’cuz we’re catching an early bus.” She nods indifferently and is about to say something when her phone rings. She gives a little wave and hurries out of the room. We hear a giggle, and we both smirk.

“Yechiel,” I say in falsetto, “you are sooo funny.”

“And you,” Sari answers in a deep bass, “are soooo smart.”

We crack up, and I suddenly want to freeze the moment and lock it away for every rainy, turbulent day that I know is just around the corner in my messy, confusing life.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 743)



Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without