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The Vending Machine

Libby Hartman

Music soon permeated the room. Shevi’s fingers danced upon the keyboard and burst into a lively tune

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

Raizy sat curled up on the couch, her head tilted to the window. The streets were silent and empty, mirroring how she felt inside. Time was crawling by slowly. Raizy stood up and sluggishly opened the fridge. She stared at its contents for several moments, until she finally shut it with a grimace. She traveled on to the pantry, scanned it for a while, and reluctantly retrieved a bag of chips. Raizy sank back onto the couch by the window. When would this hot, dreary day end? 

And then she saw her from the window. Her classmate Nechama walking down the long street, carrying her guitar on her back. Raizy pitied her; she must be so hot! Nechama continued on and stopped in front of the nursing home, and Raizy watched Nechama make her entrance through the home’s double doors. 

Raizy realized that Nechama must have gone to play the guitar for elderly women. She knew Nechama lived far away and thought it was amazing that she came all the way here to do chesed! Raizy was very impressed. She thought of herself, living practically across the street from the nursing home, and never once had she gone to visit. At that very moment, Raizy decided she would do this chesed, as well. 

Grabbing the phone, she excitedly dialed her neighbor’s number. 

“Hi,” she greeted, “Shevi?” 

“Hello, Raizy. What’s up?” 

“Are you bored?” 

“You bet,” Shevi replied. “Sundays are sooo boring and it’s boiling outside!” 

“So I have this amazing idea, Shev. Remember one Motzaei Shabbos when you came to my house with your keyboard? You played and I sang?”

Photo: Shutterstock

“Of course I remember, Raizy. I still can’t get over your gorgeous voice.” Shevi paused. “So you wanna do it again?” 

“Not just do that again, I want to go to the nursing home across the street and perform for the elderly ladies!” 

“That’s such a great idea!” Shevi gushed. “I always wanted to use my talent, I just never thought of going there to play. I’m so excited! And it’s such a big chesed! When do you wanna start?” 

“Let’s meet in front of the building at four thirty. Okay?” 

At four thirty-five, a nurse directed them to the first room and Raizy and Shevi gently knocked on the door. 

“Come in,” a muffled voice said. 

Raizy entered first, followed by Shevi holding her keyboard. 

“Hi.” Raizy smiled at the woman. “My name is Raizy.” 

“And I’m Shevi. What would you like us to call you?” 

The woman sat on her bed with a worn-out cape wrapped around her. 

“You can call me Serel. Or Bubby Serel,” she chuckled. “Whatever you like.” 

“Great!” Raizy cheered as Shevi set up her keyboard. “My friend Shevi plays the piano and I sing. We would love to perform for you, Serel. Sit back and enjoy.” 

Music soon permeated the room. Shevi’s fingers danced upon the keyboard and burst into a lively tune. Serel clapped along, a bright smile painting her frail face.

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