A zigzag of light in the sky.

I clench my blanket and sit up in bed.

The rain drums on the window, and from my bedroom, tucked away at the top of the house, I can hear the gales of wind whooshing against the panes. Thunder roars. I am fully awake now and I reach over to open the window. I want to see the storm in all its furious splendor. I love when the world gives itself out like that.

Another jagged streak of lightning flashes the garden into visibility for a millisecond. Whoa!

Mrs. Marcus says that a single bolt of lightning contains enough energy to cook 100,000 pieces of toast. Only theoretically though, because we cannot harness energy from lightning. It’s too hard to tell exactly where lightning will strike.

I wait for another flash. Another 100,000 potential toasts.

It doesn’t come. The rain slows and a droplet lands on my nose.

I shut the window, crawl back into bed, and try to sleep.

In the darkness behind my closed lids, bits of the conversation I had with Rafi earlier drift in and out.

“So do you think it’s the end?” I’d asked him. “And Aunt Debbie’s here to support Mom through the divorce?”

“The end? I don’t know, but the end was a long time ago, it’s nothing new.” And then, “Don’t tell me you were still hoping, Naomi.”

“I don’t know.”

He mentioned the letters. “Things were going downhill for a long time, even four years back, like you wrote in the last letter to Daddy.”

I open my eyes. It’s no use. Sleep is eluding me. The journal of letters is in my drawer. I flick on the lamp, and the sea-life cover glows eerily in its feeble light.

I turn to the fourth letter. As I read, the storm rages to life again, rain pounding and crashing. I am tired, so, so tired, and sad. Outside lightning strikes again, on and off, so that the page I read is punctuated by bursts of light and the stain of tears.



Dear Daddy,

We’ve just moved homes but there’s no fresh, new-move feeling anywhere in the air in our new apartment. It’s a smaller place. We’re squishing into an apartment because we lost the house.

We are in the new living room, sitting in a deluge of appliances and pieces of furniture and endless boxes.

So that’s it, our whole life in boxes. You say, Look how transient we are, how easily we can be moved about…

Easily? I think of all the time we spent stacking and packing and taping.

Yeah, we think we’re settled, that our stuff grounds us but it can all be upended so fast, Mom muses.

Your sigh fills the room, as though you’ve let her down.

I was just thinking, not complaining, Mom says.

She’s walking on eggshells around you. She has her new job and it’s filling her inside, while your energy drains away, and a crease of worry has lodged itself between your brows. There are so many tight feelings crowding a room already too full of boxes.

I want to tell you and Mom this: I don’t care about the small apartment; changes are exciting for a kid. We have each other and we have our stuff, why isn’t that good enough?

But in the end the move prompts a change in you. You say you are starting a band, and that gets us fired with possibilities. You start to come home looking better, more energized.

You ask me about school again and you do some of my “social skills” homework with me. I hate that homework but I’m so glad you’re taking an interest in my life again. You take me and Rafi out to see the world and we talk about everything and anything, in parks under rustling trees and up there in the shul’s attic room.

Only Mom isn’t happy about the change.

And after a while, Rafi and I aren’t either. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 673)