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A Touch of Trepidation

Bracha Stein

You could tell a lot about someone from the way they knocked, Dahlia mused. Such a simple action, but one that lent great insight into the psyche. Take this knocker, for example. This was clearly the knock of someone who had suffered greatly. It was the knock of someone who had known grief and heartbreak, but also joy and serenity. It was the knock of someone who had known the anguish of strife but had the wisdom borne of experience.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The door flew open, and a mix of Baby Gap coats and little boots tumbled in.

“Finally!” Yocheved panted. “We’ve been knocking forever and Shimon’s needed the bathroom for the past ten minutes and I was afraid you would never open the door and— Shimon! What are you doing! Run! You’ll take off your boots later! Just go!”

Dahlia returned to the kitchen, taking out sippy cups and mugs and Taster’s Choice from her cabinets as she prepared coffee for her sister and cocoa for her nephews. Some ten minutes later, the sisters sat by the table, watching the children alternately sip cocoa and crush Cheerios into the woodwork.

“So, anyway,” Yocheved continued, “the doctor isn’t sure what it is, but he says it’s definitely not contagious, and since I had already taken off work, I decided to go check out the sales, but then on my way home, Shimon needed the bathroom, and I figured it had been a while, so… what’s new?”

Dahlia smiled into her mug. “Nothing much.BaruchHashem, Miri started sleeping for longer stretches and Chaim has been—” She stiffened and darted a glance out the window.

“What is it?”

“Shhh!” Dahlia barked, running back to her Limoges sugar container. She dug around with the spoon for a moment before removing the smallest pair of binoculars Yocheved had ever seen. Drawing the curtains closed around her, she pressed the binoculars against the glass.

“Oh, no!” Dahlia wailed. “Chev, he’s at it again! It’s been quiet for so long, but I just knew that Mr. Schwartz was up to no good. Look — someone is knocking on his door!”

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