Sitting in her usual place at the head of the women’s table, Annie found herself thinking about her and Moey’s clandestine trip to the Fun House more than ten years before. Her brother was 11 and she was 8 when she’d caught Moe sneaking out, the mischief in his eyes apparent, and had insisted on coming with him. It was, she told herself, just to make sure he didn’t get into any trouble; she stoutly denied to herself the possibility that she’d been tempted by the allure of this extremely forbidden fruit.

They’d taken their hard-earned dimes to the Laff-Laff Fun House on Surf Avenue. They walked through a maze, Annie clinging to Moey’s hand. They flew down a slide in pitch blackness, shrieking in terror and joy, and they sat on a spinning disk that made Annie dizzy. What she remembered now, though, was the Hall of Mirrors — dozens of mirrors where you saw yourself as tiny or gigantic, with legs looking as thick as logs or foreheads resembling a stretched out piece of chewing gum. What she found both thrilling and frightening was the realization that beneath all the distortions — stood little Chanaleh Freed.

Sitting here now, she looked around her and felt like the little girl in that Hall of Mirrors: all reality was distorted. There was Harry, the strong and vibrant young man who’d sprung to her brother’s defense and brought a bully to his knees — transformed into this pale-faced invalid who was obviously forcing himself to sit through the meal he’d hardly touched. There was Moe, sitting silently, not even joining in the zemiros he loved. And there was Chanaleh, beloved by all the boarders, banished from the kitchen, shunned by Mrs. Horn, ignored by her own father.

And Papa! When had her father — strict, but always caring, always there for her — turned into this stern-faced stranger?

Though it had been exciting, Annie hadn’t enjoyed the Hall of Mirrors; indeed, she’d run out crying, much to Moey’s disgust. She hadn’t enjoyed the mirrors, and now, she was most definitely not enjoying this Shabbos in her old home.