Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Freefall: Chapter 24

Moe is told he’s being transferred to Officer Training School in New Jersey. Harry asks Moe if he can recuperate in the Freed Hotel

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Have I made a terrible mistake?

Rachel Levine was not one for second-guessing herself. She was determined, confident — and, as she never hesitated to point out — usually right.

From almost that first moment when Annie had come to her aid, lifting her up from the Boardwalk with arms both strong and gentle — comforting arms, Jewish arms — Rachel had marked her as the granddaughter she had always longed for, the perfect wife for her Abie. She’d done all she could to hurry the match through.

Now, as she carefully traced the arc of her lips with her fuchsia lip pomade and dabbed on the foundation and powder, she felt the tiniest prick of an emotion so rare she could hardly identify it: doubt.

Usually impervious to others’ opinions (particularly to that of her son and daughter-in-law) somehow, on this day of days, the constant, unrelenting opposition that Sammy and Dora had quietly shown to the match had sown something disquieting within her.

Not against Annie; the girl was a gem. Beautiful, inside and out. But oh, that Yeruchum Freed. Rachel had known him in good times and bad. As upright as they came, but so incredibly stubborn. Why did the man insist on denying the emotions that the good G-d had given him? It wasn’t that he had no emotions. Rachel knew him well, and she saw that beneath that frigid exterior was a mass of anger, resentment, love, compassion, frustration, sadness, and dedication — an entire smorgasbord of feeling, hidden behind a curtain of formality. Was this the father-in-law who would bring out the best in Abie? Who could even understand him?

But speaking of smorgasbord… look at the time! They would be leaving in half an hour and she still had her hair and hat to take care of.

Enough of this. Abie and Annie are getting married today. It is a time for mazel tovs, not silly thoughts.

“Do you think he’s making a terrible mistake?”

Sammy struggled with his bowtie, and thought about Dora’s plaintive question.

This wasn’t how Sammy had envisioned the wedding of his only son. A large affair in an exclusive hall, a girl with contacts who would help Abie move up swiftly in the business world, a party that would make a statement in the social world he inhabited. Not a ridiculously simple affair, with homemade Jewish food, in some nondescript Coney Island boarding house pretending to be a hotel. A shtetl wedding, of all things, with a simple chuppah (no flowers!) held up by four bearded men. And then, the cruelest blow, this idea that there would be no ballroom dancing, just circles, men and women separated by (he could hardly believe it) a curtain between them.

Yeruchum Freed, he got everything he wanted. Considering his past encounters with the Levine family, you would think he would be a little more accommodating, but no, that wasn’t the way Annie Freed’s father operated.

At the thought of Annie, Sammy softened. A sweet girl, who quietly made the room brighter with her presence. Very respectful, too, of him and Dora (more than Abie was, he had to admit). If only she wasn’t… Yeruchum Freed’s daughter.

Was their Abe making a terrible mistake?

Related Stories

Finish Line

Tehilla Shapiro

No matter how hard I tried, though, I never seemed to make it to candlelighting on time

Circles of Love

Shifra Leah Kahn

I was a child who never fit into a society where the normal family was one father, one mother, two c...

Back Home

Shana Reicher

I wept. In a strange shul, with an unfamiliar crowd, I was uninhibited, free to access my emotions a...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah