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Superhero

Zivia Reischer

The older girl smirked. “Catch,” she said. She tossed Chaya the DVD. Chaya fumbled and blushed, but she caught it.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

superhero

Photo: Shutterstock

Chaya didn’t look up when Mommy walked onto the porch, circled her, and looked at the cover of the book she was reading. Another mystery. Well, Chaya’s behavior was certainly no mystery. 

“Chaya?” 

No answer. 

“Chaya, phone call.” She held out the cordless. 

Chaya did not lift her gaze from the book. 

“Chaya, do you want to talk to Gitty?” 

Mommy waited for a few moments. Chaya turned the page. Mommy went back inside. Faintly, Chaya could hear her say, “Sorry, Gitty, she’s not available now…” Imagine if Gitty knew she wasn’t going to camp this summer. She turned another page. Imagine if Gitty knew what she was reading. 

She could hear Mommy’s footsteps again. “Chaya?” Mommy waited a beat. “I’m going to the mall. Do you want to come?” 

Chaya ignored her. 

“Answer me when I talk to you.” Mommy’s voice was sharp. 

Chaya muttered, “I don’t need anything.” 

“You don’t need anything?” Mommy sounded amazed.

Photo: Shutterstock

“No, I don’t.” Chaya closed the book with a snap. “I don’t need new school shoes. I don’t need a new backpack. I don’t need new accessories to match a new uniform.” Her voice was high and wavered dangerously. “Okay?” She jerked the book open again. 

Mommy took an uncertain step back. “Chaya,” she began. She was using that let’s-have-a-good-talk voice that made Chaya cringe. “I know this is hard for you. It’s hard for all of us. But soon it will all be straightened out. Of course you’ll be accepted by the time school starts!” She was talking too much. “Listen, we can get you new school shoes anyway. You’re definitely going to need them!” She ended her little speech on a high, cheery note. 

Chaya said nothing. 

“Daddy and I are looking into different options. Have you ever heard of Machon Rivkah?” 

Chaya shook her head stiffly. 

“Oh… well, it’s a high school not too far from here… maybe 20 minutes from the highway.” She saw Chaya’s face close. “It’s not ‘out-of-town,’ she said quickly. “It’s just… it’s about 20 minutes away.” 

“None of my friends are going there,” Chaya muttered. Her voice was husky. 

“I know, Chaya, but…” Mommy sounded helpless. Well, that fit. 

“We’ve heard some really nice things about it. We’re just, you know, looking into it a little more… It’s…” Mommy cast around for the right words. “It’s, you know, just… different than Bais Yaakov.” 

Chaya turned the page.

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