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As Long as the Sun Shines

Leah Gebber

Shula looks around the simchah hall; the turquoise and gold decor her sister-in-law Margalit chose, the crush of guests, most of whom aren’t there for her at all, though it’s her Bentzy’s bar mitzvah, too. A rush of resentment makes her skin prickle. She was pressured into this joint bar mitzvah, all because of her age. She is 52, the age of a winter’s day, the most tiresome age there could be, except 14. Sixty had glamour. People listened to you at 60. At 50, you were irrelevant.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

boy runEach year, William waits until his old, weary eyes fill, blur, and are blinded. Only then does he leave the small playground on the corner of Springfield Avenue, return to his car where he turns on his windshield wipers to clear away the snow or slush or rain that fell as he sat on the wooden bench, staring at the bronze memorial or the children or at the cigarette butts or just into the never-ending gray of the winter sky.

Twenty-one years ago, on a freezing February morning in 1992, nine-year-old Andrew, William’s little boy, had stepped off the sidewalk straight into the path of an oncoming car. Andrew was bewitched by snowflakes — he had stuck out his tongue to see if they tasted of honey and dew. William had pictured the scene so many times — the driver leaning over the steering wheel, squinting at the little boy in the navy trench coat. How he’d frozen, hands on the wheels, terror paralyzing his legs. How at the very last minute, he’d slammed on the brakes. Swerved. But the icy road had thrust him forward, there was no grip, though he pumped the brake up and down up and down G-d what was wrong with the brakes up down stop stop

Noooooo—

A little boy lay on the frozen road, lifeless.

There wasn’t any blood, just a perfect, cold body.

 

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