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House of Mirrors: Chapter 17

Rachael Lavon

Laylee tugged on her boots, harder than she needed to. Darkness. That’s what you are. The most unimaginative boots in the world. Bottomless. Pits. Of darkness

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

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L aylee flipped over her pillow and tore off her eye mask. Useless thing. It was past 3 a.m. and she still couldn’t sleep. She’d had an honest and vulnerable conversation with Malky. She’d put herself out there, and Malky had agreed to help. It had gone perfectly. So why can’t I sleep?

She got up and tiptoed across her bedroom, bits and pieces of the conversation following her.

“… was really nice bumping into you today… It’s like this. Gavi really respects Yitz, and I know he wishes he’d reconsider being involved in the shul…”

Malky had been genuinely surprised. “But there are so many people working on it! And after everything that happened with Katz… Yitz just feels like…” she trailed off awkwardly.

“Yeah, I know that was unpleasant. But it would make all the difference to Gavi if Yitz offered his help. This week they’re setting up a search committee for a new rav.”

“Wow. Okay, I’ll talk to him.”

Laylee tiptoed into the hallway. As she closed the door behind her, she noticed a hairline crack snaking its way down the wall. She pressed her index finger against it, ran her finger down its length. I can’t believe I never noticed this. Water damage? Something structural?

She sat down on the chaise longue in the hallway, facing the crack, studying it from all angles. Her eyes fluttered closed. In the darkness of her dream, she saw the crack widen, snake out in every direction, the paint beginning to flake off the wall and onto the hardwood floors, the moldings falling off in chunks. It grew until the house itself split in two.

She shook herself awake.

Yitz is going to get back on the project, thanks to me. Gavi will be thrilled. The shul will be finished one day, and Gavi will be jubilant… and everything will be fine. Perfectly, wonderfully fine.

She sat watching the crack until the dawn's light came streaming through the windows.


Her usual Sunday morning headache was worse this week. Laylee yawned and entered her closet sluggishly, immediately spotting her Chanel Espadrilles on the summer rack, tucked away in silent hibernation. She reached for them. You should be in a suitcase right now. She’d had a dull pain in her side all week, the blunt edge of anger crushing her in tiny increments. She let the espadrilles drop with a soft thud, and reached blindly for the first pair of boots she found, Stuart Weitzman. Typical.

They’re leaving the hotel for the port now, searching frantically for misplaced sunglasses, pulling on floppy hats.

Laylee tugged on her boots, harder than she needed to. Darkness. That’s what you are. The most unimaginative boots in the world. Bottomless. Pits. Of darkness.

No Krugman missed The Family Vacation. It was sacrilege to even think of it, which was why Laylee expected a temper tantrum when she told her mother that the Beloff contingent wouldn’t be joining them this year. Instead she received a little sigh. “I understand, Laylee. Really.” She understood? Laylee had stared at the phone in disbelief long after she hung up.

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