Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

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

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Related Stories

Road Race

Rochel Burstyn

Are you fascinated by cars? Even if you think you’re not quite a car person and can’t tell the diffe...

You Called?

Sivi Sekula

Want to speak to your brother in Israel or your cousin in Los Angeles? You just pick up the phone an...

Hide and Seek: Chapter 6

Bracha Rosman

Idy agrees to escape with Jacob. Mr. Renard decides to accept the business proposal, against his wi...

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.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"