The yelling was clearly audible from the sidewalk in front of the house. Shiffy stood stock-still, staring at the front door. What in the world?! 

Shiffy raced up the front path and flung the door open. Her younger siblings were grouped at the kitchen doorway. Shiffy pushed through them. Her mother stood near the stove, snood askew, facing Adina. 

Adina. Adina was yelling, screaming, crying hysterically. Shiffy gaped. Adina? Never-lose-your-cool-Adina? When Adina got angry, she went silent and cold. What was this? 

“Lower your voice,” Mrs. Silvermintz was pleading. “Calm down, Adina, so we can talk about it!” 

“I don’t want to talk about it! There is nothing to talk about!” Adina yelled back. 

Shiffy made eye contact with Aharon. “Aharon — what happened?!” 

Aharon shrugged. “I don’t know. Something at school. She came home early, screaming and yelling.” 

“I never asked anyone to get involved!” Adina screamed. “What did you tell them?” She breathed raggedly, pointing a finger at her mother. “Tell me what you told them!” 

“Adina! I didn’t tell them anything!” 

“You did! You did! And now they’re on my case, asking all sorts of questions! Just when things were finally starting to… to… work out a little — you ruined it!” 

“Adina!” Mrs. Silvermintz said sharply. “Watch how you talk! I didn’t tell anyone anything. I didn’t ruin anything!” 

“Yes you did, I know you did—” 

Something clicked for Shiffy. “Ma, were you in school today? Chaya Miriam said she thought she saw you, but I—” 

Adina grew even more hysterical. “You came to school and you told them—” 

Mrs. Silvermintz walked over to Adina, placed a hand on each shoulder, and attempted to guide her to a chair. Adina resisted, pulling away, sobbing wildly. “Bring me a cup of water, Shiffy,” Mrs. Silvermintz instructed. Shiffy complied. Mrs. Silvermintz forced the cup in Adina’s hand. “Drink this, Adina,” she commanded. “I was at school today, but not for what you think. If you continue screaming at me, you’re never going to find out what happened.” 

Adina continued weeping, dry, heaving sobs. She collapsed into the nearby chair and put her head on her arm, moaning and crying. 

“Drink, Adina.” 

It took a few minutes until Adina could drink. Mrs. Silvermintz watched her patiently. Shiffy watched them both, her heart in her throat. 

“Aharon, please take the kids to the park. We’ll talk about this later.” Silently, Aharon shepherded the kids out. 

“I came down to the school today,” Mrs. Silvermintz said in a measured tone. “I got a call from the office that the Mrs. Herlauer wanted to speak with me this afternoon. They asked me to come in. I did not initiate the meeting.” 

“Afternoon?” Adina’s eyes flicked briefly toward her mother. Her voice came out in a hoarse whisper. 

“Afternoon. I came back home to find you already here and in hysterics. Can you give me an explanation for your behavior, please?”

 It seemed like an eternity before Adina spoke. "