S

uri drove slowly up to the entrance of Miri’s high school, scanning the crowd for her daughter. Each week, she tried to take a different kid with her to go visit her father, and today was Miri’s turn. After the day she’d just had — she couldn’t remember the atmosphere in the clinic ever being this frosty — all she wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed. She dreaded the thought of spending two hours in rush-hour traffic. But she couldn’t disappoint her father; he lived for her visits.

Couldn’t disappoint. Not her father, not the elderly ladies. And look where that got her: Aviva’s embarrassing accusations of irresponsibility. Shooting her dagger looks whenever they crossed paths today. Aviva was taking this whole thing really personally, and it was making Suri quite uncomfortable.

Well, that’s no shocker, after what she’s just been through with her husband’s financial blooper. No wonder she was so sensitive about this. And why weren’t you more professional?

Because she just couldn’t handle disappointing other people, even at her own expense.

She rubbed her shoulder as she spotted Miri, and waved at her. A hot bath. That was what she needed. Would it have been so terrible to make this visit tomorrow? Even if Tatty yelled about it?

Miri slid into the car. “Hi, Mommy, how was your day?”

Suri gave a half smile. “Isn’t that supposed to be my question?”

It never ceased to amaze her how similar her eldest daughter was to her. The teenaged Suri, too, had never liked talking about herself, had always preferred deflecting attention to others. Come to think of it, she still did that.

Miri turned on the CD player. “Hey,” she said brightly, “how’d your social group go last night? Did it work out at the clinic?”

Suri hesitated. Her daughter had been so proud of her suggestion, and it wasn’t her fault that Suri had failed to think of the insurance implications, or that Aviva had chosen to get so upset about it. “Yeah, sweetie, the meeting was great. Super idea!”

“Well, I got it from that day I was there helping out, to set up for the senator’s visit. There were a few kids in wheelchairs there.”

Suri nodded. “You were a really big help that day. Yael’s still talking about how impressed she was with your maturity.” She stole a fond sideways glance at her daughter.

Miri glowed at the compliment, but her brow instantly furrowed. “Mommy,” she said slowly. “That reminds me. There was something I’d meant to tell you from that day… but from all the excitement I forgot about it. Something I overheard.”

“Oh?” Suri’s heart started beating faster. What now?

“About Yael.”