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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)



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