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Picture of Loyalty

Zahavah Myers

“I really want to win first place,” she admitted. And only Esti knew how much she meant it

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 Mishpacha image

 

M y decision, Esti lectured herself as the fateful thoughts entered her mind, will tell how badly I want this friendship. She wanted it, really, but it would come with a heavy price for her. She sighed, as she’d found herself doing countless times since that thrilling phone call. 

What should she do?


*

The two close friends strolled together along the cobblestone path in comfortable silence, each immersed in her own thoughts. They watched blue jays raising up their little wings, soaring high, disappearing into the endless blue horizon. Their hair ruffled in the slight breeze as they inhaled the fresh morning air. They stood in awe of Hashem’s world, land that stretched in beautiful greenery. It was Mimi who broke the stillness.

“You know the photography contest’s due date is next week. I’m submitting the most stunning picture I have ever taken.” She paused. “I really want to win first place,” she admitted. And only Esti knew how much she meant it.

*

Click. Click. Mimi pushed the shutter. “Great shot!” she congratulated herself. At her sister’s cry, she turned around.

“Maybe I should take some pictures of you, cutie?” she asked, more to herself than to her adorable little sister. Mimi took the small grubby hand into her own and skipped off through the back door, into their private garden. It smelled of cut grass. “Yes,” she nodded, “this is the ideal spot for some photos.” All she must do to win, was take a couple of picture-perfect shots.

She pushed some branches away and positioned her sister by a flowering bush. Satisfied, she let herself get carried away. Yes, I will win! My dream will finally become reality, and it will finally prove to the world what a great photographer I am!

At the same time, in another house not too far away, Esti was experimenting with her new digital camera. She was busy snapping away, and that was why, when Mimi called to yak about her own pictures, Esti’s mother couldn’t find her.

Esti had never known taking photos could be so enthralling. One shot, from their backyard, was of trees and ornamental shrubs stretching across to embrace the pink, cotton-candy sky above. One was of a little adoring boy’s dimples, while another was of a red monarch butterfly in flight. She was having so much fun. Then an innocent thought struck her: Perhaps she, too, would submit pictures to the photography contest.

The next day, unbeknownst to each other, each girl took out a crisp white envelope, caressed the precious photos, and slipped them inside. On the outsides, with quivering hands, both wrote: To the WWP Photography Contest. Their respective envelopes were dropped into the mailbox with soaring hearts.

Just a few weeks later, the phone call came.

“May I speak to Esti, please?”

“Speaking.”

“Hello, I’m calling to inform you that you have won first place in the annual WWP contest. Your photo of the woods is incredibly beautiful and you took the shot from a perfect angle. How the light reflected so perfectly on the treetops!”

Esti could hardly breathe.

“Me?” she managed to squeak out. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 659)

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