"A viva says it’s not as simple as I thought. Dovi is concerned. He feels like it undermines him.” Helen Coleman spoke in that special tone she used when she considered something urgent, her brows appropriately furrowed as she broke the news.

Mendy Coleman sighed. “Tell her that Dovi can relax. I’m not buying the camp anyhow. Not because of him, though. I don’t intend to live the rest of my life deciding what I can do based on how it makes him feel. I gave him my business to run.”

“So what happened? Too much money?”

“Nah, not that, the price is fair. It’s that Barry Penner won’t sell to me. I don’t really get it, but it seems like he knows Chaim wants it, and of course he knows that Chaim and I are close, so he lumped us together right away. He told me that he doesn’t see it as a serious offer. Chaim is going through a midlife crisis and all that. He has a right to choose and I’m not fighting him. If he doesn’t believe in Chaim, that’s his prerogative. He says Chaim isn’t made for camp and it’s a waste of time.”

Helen Coleman’s hand flew up to cover her mouth, as if in horror at the idea, even though Rivky Reimer had expressed precisely the same thought a few weeks earlier.

“That’s terrible, Mendy.”

“Yeah,” Mendy said, frowning. He didn’t tell his wife what else Penner had said before hanging up.

You just feel guilty because you fired your close friend, a guy who made you lots of money, in order to make your eidem happy. Real nice.

The parents of a first-half camper had called to make sure their son would be registered for the following summer. “My Naftali said everyone knows that Neos Deshe is the hottest camp in the mountains. I want to make sure we’re back next year.”

Chananya Singer had saved the message and sent it out as a group text to the entire staff, and Rivky expected Chaim to be in a particularly good mood.

He wasn’t, though. He didn’t look angry, he looked sad — like the day he’d come home from Merit Financial for the last time.

He was sitting on the cheap metal-frame bed, one foot on the floor, the other stretched out in front of him, when she came in.

“Hey, nice message, everyone’s talking about it.”

He nodded glumly and leaned back against the wall. “Hurray. Mazel tov.”

“Chaim? What’s with you?”

He stood up, grimacing at the loud creak of the bedsprings. He walked to the window and looked out.

“Rivky, you were right. Everyone was right. I tried. It didn’t work.”

She felt as if something was slipping away from her, but she had no idea what. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 663)