I shouldn't have been such a good wife.

Or, maybe I shouldn’t have been so lazy and should’ve just made the Shabbos day meal. I mean, c’mon, a pot of beans is not that difficult, and I could have bought cold cuts.

But no, I was sitting next to Rafi, in the house of some stranger whom I was supposed to get to know and be nice to because she was being nice to me, inviting us right after we moved into town.

Rafi was all chatty, of course he was all chatty, he’s Rafi, everyone loves Rafi, they love him so much they tolerate the me that comes along with him.

The wife got up to clear off and then serve. I didn’t want to go into the kitchen to help.

Not that I didn’t want to help. I could help, just as long as she didn’t try to talk to me. But of course she’d speak to me, because it’d be awkward otherwise. And if I didn’t go help, then I’d be really rude. I couldn’t consciously do that to Rafi.

I got up to help, lifting Rafi’s salad plate and mine. She stacked her plates, but I only had two plates, should I stack or not, I have two hands, there was no need to stack, but then it might look like I was insulting her, like, “look how classy I am, I don’t stack,” but I really do, I totally do. And I use the pretty plastics from Amazing Savings sometimes, my kids are young, I can reform my ways in time.

“How are you settling in?” she asked, smiling kindly as she accepted my non-stacked plates. Seriously. Did this woman want the truth, no she didn’t want the truth, she was just trying to make useless small talk. But I noticed her diamond ring, classy setting, matte band, square diamond with a trillion chips on each side. The diamond was two carat at least, but couldn’t be more than an SI1 in grading. Quantity over quality. I got that, because most people can’t tell the difference.

“Fine, fine,” I said. I wasn’t going to lie and say, “Splendid, glorious,” because I’m a terrible liar. But that response should be good enough. Was I supposed to add anything onto it? Details? I’m never sure how much to say. I barely knew the woman, though Rafi has been schmoozing with her husband every night after Maariv for the past two weeks.

She tried again. “How are the kids handling it?”

What was her name, I couldn’t remember, it ends in a y I recalled, like one of those Shaindy, Malky, Chany, Devoiry, Shiffy, Temmy — that’s it, Temmy. What does Temmy stand for, Tamara? Temima? Tam Tam crackers?

“They’re doing okay.” Daniel, my oldest, was mad, Moshe missed his friends but made new ones, and Batsheva is barely one, she shouldn’t know from nothing, but she’s been crying since we moved. This Temmy barely knows what my kids look like, doesn’t know their names, she doesn’t really care, she was just asking ’cuz she’s supposed to. She doesn’t care about the answer, and I don’t care to give it. Okay is a catch-all term — right? (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 553)