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The Friendship Candle

Tzipi Wolner

I used to love school. I went to the huge Bais Yaakov two blocks from my house. I had tons of friends. Until last summer

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock.

I peeked into the dining room. Everything was dark. The candles on the windowsill formed weird dancing shadows on the long wall.

“Of course I’m not afraid!” I told my father. “For real? Because if you are, Mommy will stay home with you.” I laughed. “I had my birthday last week, remember? Anyway, Kayla is here. We’ll have an awesome time together.”

“Don’t open the door for anyone,” my mother said as she pecked my cheek. “Bye!” The door closed. I skipped to where Kayla was curled up on the couch.

“Kayla, I want to hear all about Bnos Leah. Like, every detail. Tell me about your teacher and about Gila and the rest of the girls.” You see, until last summer I loved school. I went to the huge Bais Yaakov two blocks from my house. I had tons of friends. Kayla and I were the real-shpiel BFFs and were at each other’s houses, like, every second day.


But one day, my life turned topsy-turvy. My father got a new job in a different city. That meant a great, big move. I don’t like changes. I don’t like new places and I did not like my new school. The girls in my new class were not anything like my old friends. They spoke the same language, they wore the same clothes, and they ate the same foods as me, but they were so, so different. Every recess, I sat at my desk with my nose buried in a book. When I got tired of reading, I’d lay my head on my arms. This is silly, I’d think. I so badly want a friend, but I don’t want any of these girls as my friend! I don’t even want to get to know them! I miss Kayla and Gila and Gitty and Malky. I wish I could sprout wings and fly back to my old school.

At the very beginning, the girls came over to talk to me. However, I made it very clear I wasn’t interested. I gave a little grunt when they spoke to me, and kept reading. I was angry at my parents for moving to this town. Then I got angry at the girls in my new class for even trying to be my friends. After a few weeks, I was even angry at myself for being angry! Because now I was lonely. I sat all day with a book. Books are fun to read, but they’re not people. I needed a friend, someone to talk to, and I’d pushed all these new girls away. Maybe I could just tell them: “Hi! I’m Devoiry. Remember me? The girl you tried to talk to in the beginning of the year and I refused to even look at you. So, um, yeah, I decided that I’m too lonely and that I really do want to be your friend because, really, after seeing you every day, I realize you’re not so bad after all.”

I was so not doing that, though, because I was way too embarrassed. So I stayed lonely and miserable.

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