Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Teen Fiction: Pen Pals

Ahuva Sofer

I only went to 11 different professionals throughout my life. But, it looks like my stutter is here to stay, at least for now

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

Dear Diary,

It’s funny, how life works. My mother, a social worker, whose job it is to solve people’s problems, can’t even solve her own daughter’s problem. I hate it. I hate, hate, my stutter. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t try. I only went to 11 different professionals throughout my life. But, it looks like my stutter is here to stay, at least for now. Presenting Tova Bandman, prisoner of her mouth.

But, my mother actually did give me a good idea, which was a life saver. You see, the stutter thing kind of ate up at my self-confidence, so I don’t have that many friends at school. I hang around a couple of kids who aren’t really my type, but the super normal kids, like Rochel Weiss and Dina Kamanetzky, stick with girls who can actually get a string of sentences out within a span of less than a minute. So here’s where pen and paper come in.

A pen doesn’t stutter. Which is why I do have one very real pen-pal friend my mother introduced to me through some kind of teen project. When I write to my pen pal, Shana Greenspan, I feel like a bird whose shackles were lifted off her wings. I can write and write about how I really feel without a care in the world. And, Shana is so normal. But, here is where my conscience really gets to me. Shana doesn’t know about my stutter. I sound so normal on paper, I almost feel like I’m cheating. I guess it’s just one of those guilt trips I’ll always have. Three cheers for Tova, world’s presiding queen of guilt.

Dear Diary,

So, this is news. Real news. I’m going to meet Shana Greenspan, my pen pal and best friend, for the first time ever. She just emailed that she’s coming from Los Angeles to New York in two days, so of course, we’re going to make up a time and place to see each other for the very first time. I mean, I sort of know what she looks like because she sent me a selfie of herself in a letter, but meeting in person is different. But I’m literally biting my nails. How is she going to react when she meets me for the first time? We’ve never even spoke on the phone, so she totally has no clue about my stutter. I know it’s really silly, but I almost feel like a jeweler caught selling a gold ring that isn’t genuine. But, there’s no use mulling over it. I guess time will tell whether my fears have any basis.

Dear Diary,

When I woke up this morning, I literally felt my stomach doing somersaults. All my excitement about meeting Shana was swallowed up by a big bundle of nerves. After showering, changing the color scheme of my outfit six times — only to go back to my first try — I ran to the kitchen and wolfed down a granola bar and a yogurt. I was supposed to meet Shana at eleven in front of J-II Pizza.

I got there ten minutes early, shivering in the cold as the wind whipped at my wet hair. Finally, a car pulled up right in front of the store. I immediately recognized Shana through the window, from the pictures she sent me. She sat tall and upright, exuding a refreshing combination of vivacity and regality. She looked just as I had imagined her to look in person. A disarming, dimpled smile met sparkling, slightly mischievous green eyes; soft brown curls bounced just past her shoulders. Her mother waved through the window, opened the door for Shana, and then helped her out. They smiled as they approached, while Mrs. Greenspan pushed Shana toward me. An effervescent, ethereal princess, prisoner of her throne.

“H-h-hi,” I managed to smile and stammer.

Related Stories

The Principal’s Daughter: Chapter 1

Yonina Levine

Rivky follows a few paces behind, her loafers scuffed, her tights frayed. In her mind she calculates...

Fruit Art: Make the Cut!

C. Rosenberg

A feast to the eyes and taste buds, fruit art is as fun to eat as it is to look at! In honor of Tu B...

Jr. Tales: Tagalongs

Bracha Rosman

One by one the weekly lists for chesed volunteers filled with names of excited girls. “I can’t belie...

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.

What Are You Fighting For?
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Parshas Korach is the tale of the archetypical machlokes
Baking Up a Storm
Yonoson Rosenblum Masterpiece Cakeshop dodged the bullet this time
More or Less
Eytan Kobre Hunger for materialism. Fueled from without or within?
Meeting the Baal Shem Tov in 2018: Last Installment
Mishpacha Readers The last part of this spirited conversation
A Priest, a Dog, and a Baseball Player
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only real life prepares you for real life
Not the Eretz Yisrael Blues
Jacob L. Freedman “Your rebbi in Mir made the diagnosis even before I did”
Collaboration Always Makes It Better
Riki Goldstein “If I collaborate for other albums, why not mine?”
The Language Everyone Understands
Riki Goldstein Connected through the universal medium of music
The Song I Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein “Let’s make Kiddush over the whole world”
Pick Your Tune
Riki Goldstein How do you like to sing Lecha Dodi?
Turnaround Time
Faigy Peritzman One truly content with his position won’t feel jealous
The Nice Things in Life
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Niceties gain cooperation while cementing relationships
See the Source
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz This message, so elementary, is challenging to maintain