Rivky Reimer was standing on the back porch, idly watching the gardener as she spoke.

“Last night was a disaster. I’m through with ideas, I’m going to have to let things run their road,” she said.

Zeldy paused. This was big. She picked up her cell phone from the counter and texted the other sisters that she was On w Rivky — Chaim lost his job — and she’s talking!!!! Really!

Pessy grabbed her own phone. No way. About him??? Shock.

It was kind of big. Rivky had long frustrated them all by refusing to speak about her marriage. She didn’t laugh at their “men” jokes, didn’t confide in them when Chaim was being moody, didn’t use him as an example of sloppiness or procrastination or absentmindedness. She spoke plenty, their sister, about kids and menus and life, but her husband was mentioned only in passing.

“It isn’t even like they have a better marriage than any of us,” Zeldy would grumble to Pessy. “It’s more like Chaim is so private that she bought into it.”

“It’s not really fair,” Pessy would say, agreeing. “I have to tell her every time Shaya has an ingrown toenail, and she never says a word about Chaim.”

Rivky was really speaking now, barely pausing for breath, and Zeldy was taking it seriously, interrupting only to offer a sympathetic “hmmmmm” every few seconds. She thought it made her sound therapist-like.

“And you can be sure I’m done trying to make things better,” Rivky was saying, “no more of my big ideas.”

She sounded defeated.

“It was horrible last night, mamesh a nightmare.” Zeldy froze. Rivky rarely complained. This whole thing was remarkable.

Pessy was texting her like mad, but she ignored it. She couldn’t be disturbed.

“Just horrible. Chaim had told me his news, and while I’m trying to figure out what to say or do, he’s walking back and forth, moping around the house all day. He kept looking out the window, as if they would come from the office and beg him to return. Maybe he thought his friends would be reaching out to him, I don’t know. He learned a bit, took a nap, but he was really climbing the walls, and making me crazy, too. So when Nechamie told me that she was making an end-of-the-year barbeque, I told Chaim, ‘Hey, let’s surprise the kids and crash the party.’ ”

That sounded like Rivky, though Zeldy couldn’t imagine Chaim making a surprise.

“So I convinced him to come — he wasn’t really doing anything. We drove toLakewoodand parked,” Rivky said, sounding perfectly miserable. “And he was even kind of excited. And then, we were walking up the driveway and we heard the kids schmoozing… about him. It was horrible.”