“S

o then when the class was finally quiet, I suddenly noticed they were all looking towards the door. I turned to the door and what do you know? That kid whom I had just kicked out was making funny faces in the window!”

Miriam’s voice floated over my head, blending with the rustle of leaves and the distant sound of a car honking. I dragged my feet along to keep up with her quick stride.

“Devoiry?”

“Hmm?”

“What did I just say?”

I blinked. “Uh, you were talking about school?”

“What about?”

I blinked quickly. “Uh, something about your principal? The new plan book system?”

Miriam grabbed my elbow. “Devoiry, something is very wrong with you. What’s the story?”

I peeled her hand off me. “No story. There’s nothing wrong.”

“You’re the worst liar I ever met.”

I shrugged. There was nothing wrong, was there? Nothing happened, nobody died, nobody won the lottery.

Yeah, so then why had I barely managed to swallow a k’zayis of challah during the Shabbos meals last night and this morning? Why had I spent most of the night tossing and turning and not fallen asleep before daybreak? Why was my heart and mind racing nonstop, shivers and flashes of electricity making me jolt at random times?

We’d spoken again on Friday, Ahuva and I. She’d told me how she urgently wanted to get together. So did I — I wanted to meet her. Although the thought of facing her gave me goose bumps. Every thought of Ahuva was downright odd. Miriam stopped walking. “Devoiry, look at me.”

I inhaled slowly and turned to face her.

“I know you as well as I know myself,” she said sharply. “There’s something devastatingly wrong with you. Your eyes are glazed. Your face is white. And you’ve gone deaf overnight.”

I kept my face even. She continued talking. “It’s okay if you choose not to share whatever’s going on with me. For all I know you’re getting engaged tonight and decided not to tell me. But don’t pretend nothing’s going on. You can’t fool me.”

She locked her gaze on me. I shifted uneasily, opening my mouth to mutter something but closing it again, unsure what to say.

“I think I’ll go home now,” Miriam said. “You’re obviously not in the mood of my company.”

“N-no,” I stammered. “It’s not—”

“Good Shabbos,” she said brusquely.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 760)