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Turning Tides

As told to Leah Gebber

It’s just over a year later now, and I look back in disbelief. Did I really make all those choices, day after day after day? Did I really subsume my job, my wishes, my choices, my livelihood into my marriage?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tzvi had been out of work for a year, and the yahrtzeit of the day of his termination marked a deeper plunge into mourning. When Tzvi lost his job, we’d sat down and figured it all out. Between my job and our savings, we could manage for a year, we’d figured. So all through that long year he could hope, things could still look up at any moment. When it ended, Tzvi was filled with despair. He felt he was no longer employable, that he may as well retire at the ripe old age of 39.

It was painful to watch him shrivel, deflate. While he never succumbed to true depression baruch Hashem, he was a shadow of what he would have been, could have been, should have been. I longed for the days when he’d return from work, throw his briefcase on to the couch and, with a smile that stretched across his round cheeks, say: “Come feed your hungry warrior.”

The warrior had long gone.

During this time, I felt terrible if I made even the littlest moan about my job. I was employed as a graphic designer at a well-established company. I hated working among non-Jews, never being able to let down my guard. I hated the looks as I ran out of there early on Fridays, and hated coming into Shabbos harried and breathless. Still, they paid me well, with a good health insurance package, and the work was steady and stimulating. At the end of the day, it was a salary, and a pretty good one.

One day, I walked in from work to find Tzvi dancing the kazatzka with the kids. My heart flew up and joined them. A job! Tzvi had found a job. I hadn’t even known that he had an interview, hadn’t taken a suit to the dry cleaner... where? what?

I turned the music down to start firing all my questions.

“Where, Tzvi?”

He was breathless. “Here. Right here.”

 

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