Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Teen Fiction: Missing Pages

Chaiky Berger

“Hey, just chill,” Shulamis cheers me up. “Just wait till we play the game… hope you won’t be too embarrassed,” she warns.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

T amar isn’t here. Why not? She didn’t tell me she wasn’t going to make it. Why hasn’t she come? I scan the crowd, my classmates dressed in Shabbos clothes, and I don’t spot the familiar lime and blue; the lime and blue that makes Tamar Tamar.

Those colors are also what made us friends back then. We both favored lime and blue. For a moment I wish I could be back there, in the simplicity of Pre-1A, in the surroundings of its bold and clear colors. Traversing the social cosmos had been smoother, and impressing the adult crowd had been simpler. But now I’m here, at a Shabbos oneg in Zipporah’s home on a gloomy, cold Shabbos afternoon. It had all Mrs. Tybur’s idea….

“I would like to schedule a Shabbos oneg. I need a volunteer who can offer her house, some volunteers who can take care of the food, and others who will take care of the program. Perhaps some of you would even like to arrange a choir?” And then, “And of course a devar Torah.”

It seemed like I’d only just begun to mark off the days of the new school year on my calendar, and already she was adding more to the schedule? Though it was already November, I still felt like I needed to catch my breath. “I’d rather sleep. Shabbos afternoons are sooooo short,” I whispered to Shulamis, whose desk neighbors mine.

“Don’t be a spoilsport. Anyhow, you can always make your cutesy cupcakes for the occasion,” she muttered.

“Wha—?” I hissed. “Work so hard for a simple class party?”

“Just a suggestion. Anyhow, who said it’s less important than doing a chesed or making cake for a simchah? Maybe you should really do it.”

“Maybe I will, but it’s loads of work, just so you know. Like don’t swallow a cupcake in one shot without first approving of it symmetry and analyzing its art,” I warned.

“Won’t,” she agreed.

Yeah. Maybe I’ll decorate some cupcakes, I thought. I can make cupcakes decorated like a piece of loose-leaf paper. That should be school-themed enough.

“Hey, do you thing a loose-leaf theme would be good?” I turned to ask Tamar.

Tamar had her head buried in her spiral notebook. Only I knew this wasn’t an ordinary spiral. The word “Private” is hiding behind the regular composition flap. 

“A page like this?” She singled out one sheet of paper, its blue with red lines bold as candy-coloring. 



“Sure. Adorable.” She smiled, then buried her head again. One hand forms a “V” and the other hand is its mirror image. Her overgrown pony hides her face and no one can see what she’s writing. Most girls think she’s doodling, or napping, or writing history.

I leaned over to look. She flapped her book closed, but not angrily. “Whatever,” she told me and smiled.

“Yeah. Whatever,” I echoed. Hey, I’m her best friend. I do know what “whatever” means.

“You shouldn’t be keeping a book like this in your locker,” I reprimanded her. I slid my glasses to the tip of my nose. “Anyone can think it’s your history notes and just take it out to copy."

“Nah. Nobody does such things around here. We’re all pretty much in the habit of asking permission before we open lockers.”

Related Stories

Super Avi: Episode 5

Ruchama Schnaidman

They wanted me to have enough soda to drink to my heart’s content, and actually had a soda machine i...

The Writing on the Wall

Rhona Lewis

With permission, graffiti is public art. Today, city officials and building owners often commission ...

Jr. Tales: In a Pickle

Y. Bromberg

"Um...” Mrs. Roth looked utterly confused. “It does say here that’s what she requested… But… a pickl...

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.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without