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Crown Prince

Faige Schonfeld

Listen, it’s your first Yom Tov back home as a married lady. It’s normal to be nervous. She casts a quick glance at Menachem, who seems to have dozed off, as doubt gnaws at her.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

crown

Photo: Shutterstock

Everything inside the aircraft is still, save for the flutters in Shevy’s stomach. 

She pops open a bag of kettle-cooked potato chips and offers some to her husband. “It feels like aaages since we left home, no?” 

Menachem accepts a chip and nods mildly. “Three months, one week, four days, actually.” 

Shevy rolls her eyes and pauses for a moment before turning on her iPod. The cabin is draped in blue-white darkness, and the soft hum of engines and muted tinkle of conversation add to the comfortable ambiance. Feeling just a bit chilly, she zips up her hoodie and crunches her way happily through the bag of chips, swirling the ice in her Coke with the cute little stirrer they handed out. She is so excited to go home, to see Mommy and Tatty and Perela’s little cutie, and… 

She sighs, lets the stirrer fall into the cup, and leans back. Okay, so she’s nervous also. Listen, it’s your first Yom Tov back home as a married lady. It’s normal to be nervous. She casts a quick glance at Menachem, who seems to have dozed off, as doubt gnaws at her. 

The song trilling in her ears is suddenly annoying. She turns off the music, cracks her knuckles, and plunks her iPod down on the table hard enough to prompt Menachem to open an eye. 

“You know, my parents are coming to pick us up,” she begins, twisting her diamond ring around her finger. 

“Mmm.” 

“And Mommy told me that Perela and Yissachar Dov will be joining them. Perela was just so excited that we’re coming back, you know…” 

“That’s nice.” 

“Yes.” Shevy agrees. Pause. “You remember Yissachar Dov, don’t you? You barely had a chance to get to know him.” 

Menachem shrugs and smiles, eyes half closed. “Seemed like a nice guy. He wasn’t around much.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Shevy twists around in her seat to face her husband and clasps her hands together. “He’s like this really… um, really different-from-you kind of guy,” She reaches up to flick her bangs out of her eyes. “He’s kinda quiet actually.” 

“Good, I like quiet people,” Menachem says meaningfully, grinning with his eyes closed. 

Shevy catches this. “Hey.” She frowns. 

“Sorry, I’m just in the middle of sleeping, ’kay? I’m sure we’ll get along fabulously.” 

“I’m sure,” Shevy says dryly, still frowning. 

She takes another sip of Coke as frustration bubbles up inside her. It makes her crazy when Menachem gets all chilled on her. He’s wonderful, really, but, in the rush and glow of sheva brachos and the ensuing weeks before they flew off to Eretz Yisrael, he didn’t get to know Perela’s husband, the… the crown prince of the family. Shevy swallows a little curdle of distaste. He just doesn’t get it, she thinks. Yissachar Dov is… well, unusual, she thinks charitably. She pictures Menachem, full of smiles and funny quips, next to Yissachar Dov… with Tatty in the background. 

Shevy stiffens. No. Perela isn’t the only one who can snag an amazing husband. She and Menachem are married four months now, long enough for Shevy to say with certainty that he is wonderful. Really. Being smart and helpful and friendly and super kind has to count, too. 

She gives her knuckles a satisfying backward crack. Yes, Menachem is wonderful and her parents ought to know it. She drinks Coke, crunches ice, fiddles with her Gucci purse (a bit fancy for the plane, Menachem had said, but she explained that it was a gift, from his mother, and it was only fair, really, to use it), and thinks.

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