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Center Stage: Chapter 61

Gila Arnold

"I’ve just about finished informing every person on the planet that I’m no longer a rising star in the filmmaking world. Tomorrow I have big plans to start knitting a sweater”

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


o all my fans and supporters—

Gabriella frowned, and deleted the words. Too arrogant.

To all you incredible people who’ve encouraged me throughout my documentary journey. This is to inform you that, due to unforeseen circumstances—

She stopped again. Unforeseen circumstances — did that sound like a euphemism for “The film festival decided they didn’t want me”? And should she care whether the good followers on Facebook thought that she’d been rejected, instead of the other way around?

She shook her head, and deleted again. She’d lost her documentary, her relationship with Doug, and her career. She could at least keep her pride.

Shmuel stuck his head into the den. He was home from Maariv. “How’s my tzadeikes wife doing?”

Gabriella gritted her teeth. Ever since she’d decided to pull out of the festival, he kept making comments like that. She knew he was trying to lift her spirits by showing how proud he was, but, oh, my goodness, noooo. This was not the way to do it. Putting on a sickly sweet voice, she said, “Baruch Hashem! And how’s my tzaddik, my gaon, my chashuve husband shlita doing?”

Shmuel blinked, as if unsure how to interpret her sarcasm. “Right. Um,” he tried again. “How’s your evening been going?”

“Oh, swell. I’ve just about finished informing every person on the planet that I’m no longer a rising star in the filmmaking world. Tomorrow I have big plans to start knitting a sweater.”

He was looking apprehensive now. She couldn’t blame him.

“What about your sister’s idea? Are you going to meet with this educational psychologist friend of hers?”

Gabriella snorted. “Oh, please. That was just Melanie trying to make me feel better. Trust me, this lady has much better things to do than help me salvage my documentary.”

Shmuel suddenly smiled brightly. “Well, listen to this! I just heard about a job opportunity I think you’ll love!”

“Oh?” She lifted her head cautiously.

“I was talking to Schiller after Maariv. His wife is the head counselor at Camp — Neranenah, maybe? Something like that. Anyway, he told me she’s looking for someone to run the camp drama production. Right away, I said, ‘My wife would be perfect for that!’ He said you should give her a call.”

He beamed proudly at Gabriella. She stared at him incredulously, disappointment rising sharp and furious.

“Production head? What in the world does that have to do with me? Do you think I’m — I’m Rina?” she sputtered. “I don’t direct a bunch of little girls to sing this, memorize that, raise your arms and smile. I. Make. Films.” Tears stung her eyes. She knew she was being terribly unfair, that Shmuel was just trying to make her happy. But… but… how could her own husband misunderstand her so badly?

“Forget it,” she muttered. “I’ll just go back to being a receptionist at Melanie’s off—”

She couldn’t even finish the sentence. No, she realized. There was absolutely no way she could go back there.

Staring down at her hands, she said, “Maybe I will give that educational psychologist a try.”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 646)

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