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Bricks and Ladders: Chapter 46

Ariella Schiller

I’ve gone against the group. Add that to Tzippy’s shidduch, and I’m pretty much a social pariah

Wednesday, February 06, 2019




zippy goes out on her fifth date with Yechiel during a snowstorm. I press my nose against the window and watch my breath fog up the glass. “Where are they even going in this weather?” I ask, my voice sounding smushed.
Mommy lets out a little sigh and runs a hand over her sheitel. “To a bookstore or something, I don’t even know. They’re just so perfect for each other. I’m having heart palpitations.”
I roll my eyes safely out of sight. Hearing about how someone like Yechiel Greenfield is perfect for my sister does not make me happy. Honestly, what about when it’s time for my shidduchim? I feel like the whole world is going to think it’s okay to redt me guys from complicated families.
I turn around and smile at Mommy. “Excited? Your baby may be getting married soon.”
Mommy turns green. “Must get sheitel off,” she mutters and heads for the stairs. I chuckle.
Chunah wanders in, Simchi hot at his heels. “RaRa, can you make us hot cocoa?”
I roll my eyes again. “Honestly, have you guys even had a full week of school since winter has arrived? I feel like it’s always a snow day.”
I put up the hot cocoa and pretty soon we’re all slurping away. My phone pings.
Ohemgee, choir tryouts just became mandatory.
As if, am I right?
Okay, I’m lost. Is Tamara saying she likes choir or hates it?
I text back a rolling eye emoji; it’s worked so far today.
She texts back LOL, so it must’ve done the job, but now I need to figure out if choir is haute or not.
I join Tamara on the radiator as soon as I walk into the classroom. My days of being unsure over my radiator status are long gone. “So, today’s choir tryouts,” I say tonelessly.
Tamara arches an eyebrow. “Right, like I care.” 
Ahhh, got it. Choir is super-lame. “Seriously,” I say. We resume our morning non-chat. It involves a lot of pulling-hoods-low over our hair, sighing, and moaning about how tired we are while sipping brewed coffee. Truth is, I’m disappointed. All Bricks sing. We have cheerful, easy voices that never win us the main parts but usually land us two or three solos in song-dance. I love to sing, but apparently, that is now a secret that will die with me.
The day passes in a high school haze and I only check my phone 17 times in between classes to see if Rus or Shiri reached out. They didn’t, and that, combined with Tiffy and Rikki’s comments about how nerdy it is to be in choir, were pushing me to my breaking point. Maybe that is why, when it’s my turn to try out for choir, I don’t flub it, as I’d originally planned. Instead, I close my eyes, open my mouth, and a beautiful rendition of Baruch Levine’s “Vezakeini” comes spilling out.
The room is quiet, and I open my eyes to see the choir heads high-fiving each other.
“Really?” I say breathlessly. I feel like I can fly, like I can do anything.
Choir head Esti Lane laughs. “Rachel Ahuva Brick, welcome to choir!”
I’m happy for a full three seconds and then the realization of what I’ve just done hits me square in the gut.
I’ve gone against the group. Add that to Tzippy’s shidduch, and I’m pretty much a social pariah.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 747)

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