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Shared Space: Chapter 47

About selling the house. Kivi had no idea what Aryeh was talking about, and Aryeh realized that a moment later

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


t was after Krias Shema, but Kivi could still feel Aryeh’s eyes on him. His older brother-in-law had given him a strange look before Maariv had started, as if trying to read Kivi’s expression. Maybe it was because he realized Kivi had been avoiding him, that even though they saw each other in shul every night, and Kivi always waved and smiled, he never got too close.

Some nights on their way out, he’d jokingly ask how “the zeidy” was feeling, teasing Aryeh about his old knees and early bedtime, but never did he get into business talk with his brother-in-law. He’d been given 55 Norton like other people are given shalach manos, and he’d managed to blow it — no expansion, no more fresh vibe, no more artisanal coffee. Even the fish in the tank had died. The property on Fountain Street had shot up in value, but Kivi couldn’t discuss that either; he was planning to use it to save Daniel (and his own vision for 55 Norton? Was it really just about keeping the fairy-tale going?).

He was putting away his siddur after Maariv when he felt the hand on his shoulder.

“Kivi, you have a moment?”

Aryeh did that thing where he smiled with his mouth, but his eyes radiated concern.

“Sure. Shvereh Tosafos?” Kivi asked lightly.

Ha. Kivi. Always with the cute joke, but never ready to talk tachlis, Aryeh’s expression said, all disapproving menahel.

Kivi wanted to ask if Aryeh thought he had potential and expected better from him, but there was no audience to appreciate his wit, so he let it go.

Aryeh indicated a chair and sat down across the shul table from him. Kivi noticed his friends watching this little meeting with curiosity, and he thought about something Wagner liked to say: “Rich people’s kids discuss the weather for 50 years, but they’re really always fighting about the yerushah.”

“Kivi, how are you? We haven’t really schmoozed in a while, busy, busy, I know.” Aryeh clasped his hands and smiled. This time his eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Baruch Hashem, thanks for asking, all good. You? How’s the new einekel?”

“Good, good, are you guys happy here in the neighborhood? Is it working out the way you wanted it to?”

Halbs didn’t confront each other. They didn’t say, “Come off it, what do you really want and why are you talking like we’re on a date?” so Kivi just grinned back. “Great, thanks.”

Aryeh looked uncomfortable, sighing softly and twisting in his seat. “Look, Kivi, I was schmoozing with Malky today, and she told me about selling the house? I’m not sure what to think of that. I was completely caught off guard.”

About selling the house. Kivi had no idea what Aryeh was talking about, and Aryeh realized that a moment later.

“Wait,” he said, “wait. You mean…like, Malky was just talking on her own…”

Aryeh was stammering, and Kivi kept quiet, holding his gaze.

“Okay, let’s take a step back,” Aryeh finally said. “Malky was telling me today that she wants to move out of Summit, to sell your house, and I was sure it was coming from you. I guess it wasn’t.”

“Where did you meet Malky?” Kivi suddenly asked.

Aryeh looked tired. “She came to my office. She came to see me.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 752)


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