"A nd then she tells me that they didn’t go to a psychiatrist!”

here was a pause on the other end, and Aviva, cradling the phone to one ear as she rested on the couch, imagined Suri shaking her head in disbelief.

“I was so confused, I didn’t know what to say. Was it a different doctor who prescribed it, then? I thought you needed a psychiatrist to diagnose—”

Aviva gave a sharp laugh, and her mother, hard at work dusting the seforim shrank, turned to Aviva with a raised eyebrow. Aviva lowered her voice. “Suri, don’t be so naive. There are ways to get Ritalin without a prescription.”

“Without a prescription!” Suri spluttered. “But… but that’s so dangerous! To play around with her health—!”

“Scary what some people do to maintain an image,” Aviva said grimly.

“Maybe they researched it or something?” Suri said. “Found that Ritalin could help exactly her symptoms?”

Aviva’s lips curled. “Ya think? Or maybe it’s a lot safer to think your daughter has plain old ADHD, like half the world, than to actually bring her to a doctor and risk getting a much more serious diagnosis.”

She chewed her lip. “It might be worth doing some research ourselves on this Ritalin business. Give me a sec, let me get my laptop.” Aviva sat up and stretched across the couch to reach for the laptop lying on the coffee table.

“Don’t you dare!”

Aviva jumped at her mother’s voice.

“You just sit where you’re supposed to, young lady. If you need something, that’s what I’m here for.” Her mother shook her head as she climbed down from the ladder and walked over to the table. “You’d think she wants to lose this pregnancy, the way she acts,” she muttered as she handed Aviva the laptop.

Aviva turned away. “On second thought,” she managed to squeeze out to Suri, through her constricted throat, “maybe you should look it up yourself.”

Yael stretched her arms out across the park bench and tilted her head back, enjoying the sunshine. Sruli was climbing up the slide again, while Simi happily squished sand through her fingers. She glanced at her watch. Ten more minutes and they’d head home. It was time to start dinner.

Her face clouded. Dinner meant Ephraim, and yet another round of let’s-not-ask-Yael-about-her-day. These past few months that she’d been home had actually been idyllic — if you didn’t count Ephraim’s still-bitter disappointment, and the fact that they hadn’t had a normal conversation since she’d quit.

Used to be, he was genuinely interested in what she was doing. Now, he immediately began speaking about himself, the latest news in the kollel, shul happenings, or, of course, his family. As if he was trying to be carefully polite, trying to avoid highlighting the fact that Yael couldn’t possibly have done anything worth talking of. After all, she was just taking care of the children.