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Silver and Gold: Chapter 35

Zivia Reischer

Robot. That’s how she felt these days. Stiff. Empty. Like she was set on autopilot, while the real Sheva was… where? Gone?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The fog that Sheva was living in had become so pervasive that she didn’t even notice anything different when she came home from school. She didn’t notice her father’s car in the driveway, or the fact that the other kids were conspicuously absent. She just headed listlessly to her room, walking right past the dining room without registering the three place settings and the platter of her favorite brownies.

She set her bag on her desk. She didn’t throw it down with an anguished crash or drop it lightly with a contrived nonchalance. She just set it down robotically on the desk and lay down stiffly on the bed. That’s how she felt these days. Stiff. Empty. Like she was set on autopilot, while the real Sheva was… where? Gone?

She couldn’t take this much longer.

An idea, germinating over the past few days, suddenly blossomed in Sheva’s mind, and without having to think about it, she knew exactly what she would do next. The thought brought an instantaneous sense of relief; now she had a plan.

There was a gentle knock and the door opened. “Sheva?”

Sheva turned her head. Her parents — both of them — stood in the doorway, looking at her stretched out on her bed. She sat up, feeling groggy and disoriented. Why were they here, like this?

“Can we talk to you in the dining room, please?”

Sheva followed them back down the hall. This time she did notice the absence of the other kids and understood its purpose. She sat down woodenly at her place and her mother poured coffee for all three of them.

“Have some brownies,” invited her mother.

Who could eat brownies?

“Sheva—” her mother began.

Sheva stared down. If she kept her head completely still, the ivy design on the plate looked like it was moving.

“Ta and I wanted to talk to you about… what’s been going on lately.”

The ivy blurred on the plate.

“You’re not yourself…” Her mother’s voice trailed off. “You’ve been coming home late, and you’re out Sundays, Fridays…”

Sheva swallowed. “Everything’s fine,” she said loudly. She even glanced upward to meet her parents’ eyes.

A brief silence ensued, which Sheva refused to break.

“Sheva, it’s not fine,” her mother said. “We can see it’s not fine. You’re so unhappy. Look, we want to help you… we’re going to help you. But we need you to tell us what it is.”

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