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Silver and Gold: Chapter 51

Zivia Reischer

“So you got what you wanted, and you’re miserable, and I got what I didn’t want, and I’m miserable. So where does that leave us?”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Y ou’re not singing.”

Fraida spoke quietly into Leah’s ear. Around them, the girls spun harmonies in a sea of darkness; it seemed the two of them were the only ones in the room sitting silently. “Well, neither are you.”

“You know I can’t sing to save my life.”

“It never stopped you before.”

“Ha, very funny. What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.”

“Sure. And I’m a monkey’s uncle.”

“No you’re not – you’re Shabbaton head. You should be up there with Sima.” Fraida hesitated. “I don’t think anyone misses me.” Then, as if to stave off any uncomfortable questions she said quickly, “Seriously, Leah, you seem angry.”

“Well, I am!”

“That was easy. I expected you to deny it.” Leah didn’t laugh and Fraida didn’t pause. “Are you angry at me?”

“No! I’m angry at Adina!”

A girl nearby paused mid-note and looked around. Leah lowered her voice. “She messed up our whole year! I can’t even enjoy Shabbaton!” She had tears in her eyes. “Okay, so we made up with Sheva. So what? So we ruined half the year. And Sheva didn’t even come to Shabbaton! This is not how things were supposed to be!”

“Oh, please.” Fraida’s voice was bitter. “You think things are ever ‘how they’re supposed to be’? You think you ever get what you want?”

“You got what you wanted. You’re Shabbaton head!”

Fraida’s answer was rough. “Well, sometimes you get what you want, and then you find out it wasn’t what you thought it would be.”

Leah stared.

“I thought Shabbaton head would be fun. I knew it would be work, of course, but still. I thought it would be my chance to… I don’t know… do something new… be part of things… Maybe even make new friends…”

“And?”

“And I got what I wanted, right? Shabbaton head. And it was a ton of work, which was fine, and it was sometimes fun, which was also fine. But ‘do something important’? ‘Be part of things’? ‘Make new friends’?” She laughed bitterly. “It was Sima’s show from beginning to end. Didn’t you see that?”

Leah stammered, “Oh, but, Fraida, of course it was you, too.” “Me, too. Exactly. It was Sima, and me, too. Whatever.” She lapsed into silence. The song changed, a slow, haunting tune.

“So you got what you wanted, and you’re miserable, and I got what I didn’t want, and I’m miserable. So where does that leave us?”

“Miserable, I guess,” Fraida retorted. “No, I’m joking. I don’t know. But all I can say is, I won’t make the same mistakes next time. That’s all we can do, I think, learn from our mistakes.”

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