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Learning Curve: Chapter 19

Gila Arnold

Zevi pays Suri the money that he caused the clinic to lose, and lets slip to her that Aviva’s expecting

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A viva waited until Rikki and her mother were safely out of the therapy room, then picked up the rag doll Rikki had just been playing with and hurled it clear across the room. It slammed into the wall opposite her with a dull thud and fell down on the floor.

There. That felt better.

She let out her breath. It wasn’t really about Rikki, and the fact that she had been acting with all the brattiness a four-year-old is capable of. Goodness knows, she’d encountered enough of that in her professional career. No, it was that Rikki had to go and choose this morning to plant herself on the floor with the doll and refuse to cooperate in any activity, right after Aviva’s stormy scene at home with Chavi over her unilateral decision to drop out of honors math. It was laziness, pure laziness. To make matters worse, Zevi had supported Chavi on this — but that was no surprise.

All this was on the heels of several very frosty days between her and Zevi — the worst she could remember in all their years of marriage. She didn’t even understand what she’d done wrong. She’d been so proud of herself for jumping to take all the blame on herself, to save face for her husband. How could he not appreciate that?

She picked up the rag doll. When was the last time she’d thrown something like that? She ran a hand through her sheitel. Coffee. She needed coffee, badly.

She stalked out of the room, and headed toward the office.

“…Yeah, we also have a son with learning issues. We’ve gotten him special tutors, and my wife’s worked with him a lot, but still, you know, you have to adjust your expectations. I don’t expect him to become a rosh yeshivah.”

Aviva turned her face into a mask as she walked behind Zevi’s desk, where he was busy talking to a parent. After mother and son had walked away, Aviva took a seat next to Zevi and hissed, “Is there a reason why you feel the need to air all our family secrets to the world?”

Zevi raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t realize Chaim’s learning disability was a secret. It helps parents when they hear they’re not the only one dealing with this stuff.”

Aviva glared. It wasn’t that she was ashamed of Chaim. But to go shout to the world that their son was struggling? Why? Just so that others could whisper about them, say, “You know, the Heymans, they have a son with issues”?

She was all the more frustrated because she knew she couldn’t even try to articulate this; Zevi didn’t understand this type of reasoning. Instead, she said, somewhat petulantly, “Why don’t you just share all our private information while you’re at it? Before I know it, you’ll be telling all the parents here that I’m expecting.”

Zevi shifted in his seat, and her heart plummeted as she recognized the guilty look on his face.

“Well, now that you mention it, I did have a slip of the tongue the other day…”

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