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House of Mirrors: Chapter 2

Rachael Lavon

When their Succos plans are canceled, Laylee and Gavi Beloff decide to host a chanukas habayis to celebrate their new home on Chol Hamoed

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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G avi grabbed the steaming mug and headed toward the succah. The caterers were already setting up, with Laylee at the helm. ">

“You’d think it was everybody’s first day on the job,” she hissed to Gavi as he walked in, her eyes never leaving the team of workers. Suddenly, she called across the succah, “No. No, no. You, sir, with the napkins, just put them down!”">

“Lay, I wanted to ask you something,” Gavi said, sitting down on a stray chair. “How do you feel about me speaking to your father about my idea tonight?”

Laylee stopped short on her way toward the offensive napkins. A good wife would know what on earth he’s referring to right now, she thought frantically.

She met Gavi’s eyes briefly while he took an infuriatingly long sip of coffee. Oh, please, Gavi. I’m only human. Just tell me.

“The shul,” he said at last. “We’re busting out of the storefront. You should have seen it today with all the lulavim. I was worried someone was going to get an eye poked out. We need a building.”

And you’re the man who’s going to make it happen, Laylee thought to herself. Just what we need. Another project to tie us down to Elmway. One more reason to stay in this place that’s two hours from anywhere that matters. No, thank you.

“Truthfully? I don’t think it’s a good time to bring up the idea. In fact I think it’s a slap in the face — Daddy basically paid for this house, Gavi. A little hakaras hatov before you start asking for handouts for another project,” Laylee said firmly.

Gavi looked momentarily stricken, but recovered quickly. “You know what? You’re right. I guess the minyan this morning just pushed me over the edge. We need to approach this with care. I’ll need to present him with facts and figures, possible locations, permits needed — all that needs to be worked out before I ask him for help.” He offered her a little smile. “Thanks for keeping me in line.”

His genuine gratitude made her feel ill.

“Yeah. No problem.” She whirled around toward the door. “I’m gonna check on the girls and make sure Cassandra found the right dresses. Do me a favor and keep an eye on napkin guy over there. He seems to think he’s setting up for a backyard hobo convention.”

As she headed inside, Laylee thought about the irony of celebrating a house she’d grown to resent. A resentment born from her own capriciousness, one that had spread silently while she chose wall colors and fabric and perfect flooring.

It began on a freezing night three years before, when she still believed she’d grow old on a treelined street in the city, surrounded by glistening lights, and a hop away from Bergdorf’s. She had assumed Elmway was just a sweet kollel stopover on the way to real life.

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