G-d bless the person who started the trend of having the l’chayim and vort in one affair. During the drive over, I didn’t once kvetch about how I didn’t want to meet new people, or see old people whom I didn’t care about enough to keep in touch with.

“I went to the Jewelry Design School today,” I told Rafi.

“Really? Did that Tisken person offer you a million dollars? For years she’s been trying to get you to pay a visit.”

I laughed.

“I went ’cuz I thought she could help me with a difficult client of mine.”

“And did she?”

I paused, chewing on my inner cheek. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing, but I wanted to give Rafi as neutral a version as possible, gauge his real reaction.

“Yes, kind of. She also offered me a sort of teaching-lecturing- mentoring-something position.”

Rafi raised an eyebrow. “That’s a lot of somethings. What is it?”

“Give short workshops on specific skills, and serve as a design mentor for the top students.”

“Interesting.” He lowered the music. Getting serious here.

“What do you think?”

“Well, that’s what I was wondering — what you thought.”

“I asked first.”

“Well, you didn’t nix it off the bat, so that means you’re considering it, and I’m wondering why. You’d usually just laugh. Do you want to go into teaching?”

I took a deep breath. “It’s a steady paycheck, for not that much of my time. And with the house, and stuff, I guess I can, I should.”

Rafi stopped at a red light and turned to look at me. “I think you’d be a great mentor.”

“I don’t. I’d be too honest.”

“People need more honesty in their life. But yeah, you could work on your diplomacy.”

“Thanks.”

“Hey, just being honest here.”

We both laughed.

Rafi pulled onto Shifra’s parents’ block. There was no parking. Of course there was no parking. Even at 6:45. Shifra knows everyone, and everyone wants to know her, so everyone came. I wondered what her chassan was like: a twin or complement? I think we all look for twins because we think another version of ourselves would be wonderful. But the lucky ones get complements and are happiest. I like to think Rafi and I are the lucky ones.

The short notice made no difference in the gift department. Every counter was covered with salad bowls and ugly glass plates trying to pass as crystal. I took a quick took around the room and recognized a lot of faces, but remembered no names. I probably went to high school with them, but unlike Shifra, I didn’t keep up with anyone. The noise and amount of people overwhelmed me for a moment, and I was about to shrink into a corner, but Shifra saw me.

“Abby!” she hollered. The masses parted, we embraced. I don’t know how long or short it was, but I enveloped her, she me, and we just held on. In those moments the past 13 years were crystallized and preserved. There were no words, just looks. Shifra squeezed my hand. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 560)