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Teen Fiction: Curtain Call

Rikki Ellinson

I needed to know whether the mothers would be invited this year. That, for me, was the difference between life and death.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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I t seemed as if the birds stopped chirping to allow for Mrs. Klinger’s announcement. The classroom was hushed, still.

I leaned forward, my hands grasping my face. I couldn’t miss a word.

“…finally, I’m so pleased to announce the heads, Dassy Braun and Leah Gancfried.”

I glanced at Dassy and Leah, and clapped twice. I was awaiting the rest of the announcement. I needed to know whether the mothers would be invited this year. That, for me, was the difference between life and death. Okay, that was dramatic. Rather, between fun or torture and embarrassment.

“…and Mrs. Loebenstein will be heading the choir. And this year, we look forward to inviting your mothers for the event, including the brunch following the choir.”

My shoulders dropped. No way. This was not happening.

My face fell into my hands.

The classroom’s silence had popped, as my classmates and friends chattered excitedly.

“What do you say, Raizy?” Leeba dropped herself onto my desk, moving my head out of the way. “This is so exciting! With your voice, I’m sure you’ll get a solo.”

My thoughts were far from the choir. The situation was bleak. I was picturing all of us sitting with our mothers, around beautifully set, round tables. Argh. A nightmare.

“Yep, so exciting.” My voice was flat.

“Seriously, Raiz? What’s up? You feeling okay?” Leeba stared at me, hard.

“Yeah, just nervous about the science quiz today,” I mumbled. I knew she wouldn’t fall for it.

“I so do not fall for that, Raizel Fruchter!” I hated the name Raizel. And I hated that Leeba was sitting on my desk and staring down at me.

“Ha,” I laughed. I stood up. “Let’s go get lunch, I’m starving!”

Leeba followed me, apparently forgetting about my mood lapse. The smell of pizza made me salivate, but did not help me forget about my pressing issue.

In my class of 30, my mother was an anomaly. My family had lived in Israel until I turned two. My mother, a born-and-bred Israeli, is the best mother in the world. She’s fun and full of personality. At home, she is my everything.

But in public, boy, did I feel differently. Her jarring accent is so noticeable around the perfect English shared by New Yorkers. My mother is vivacious, and wouldn’t hesitate to start a conversation about the most random topics with anyone. She wears colors freely, and sports the most random platforms and wedges instead of regular shoes. She is just plain embarrassing.

I debate how to deal with this on a constant basis.

I never actually appear in public with my mother. Usually, I send my mother to PTA with warnings to act as American as possible, and can only hope she doesn’t start up with anyone or share anything too embarrassing. I usually console myself by convincing myself that PTA is not a social affair, and no one knows that the colorful Israeli lady is my mother.

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