A ir like powder, snow soft and light, a caress on both cheeks.

Ahhh.

I walk down the school steps alone. Everyone’s still inside, a post-production comments and suggestions meeting or something. I don’t think I want to comment.

A snowflake drifts onto my nose.

With the world like this, who needs company?

There’s the most beautiful sound of snow crunching underfoot. But as I walk toward home, between my footsteps the louder sound of Shiri’s voice — what she said this afternoon — cogitates in my mind: You think you’re better than us.

Do I?

Hmm.

I shrug into my scarf.

I do, in a way. I mean what do they have to deal with anyway? An annoying sister, a disappointing exam result, that the “cute” top they want is out of stock in their size…

I am walking faster now, stomping on the snow.

What do they know about real stuff, about a mother alone, about not seeing your father for months?

An image of a girl downing a tablet without water rises in my mind. Doesn’t Kayla have real stuff to deal with, too?

I turn the corner and before me, on the steps of a café, is a child street musician. A violin is perched on his shoulder, and he strums the bow across it delicately, face furrowed in focus. In front of him lies an open violin case, a suggestion at his feet.

A crowd has gathered around him. Only a child could do that to hardened pedestrians accustomed to the sights of street performers on the corner. Is it that he looks not a day older than 12, face shining with an innocence not usually found on the streets, or that the music flows from his fingers and straight to the heart?

Among the snowflakes he makes his music, oblivious to the swirling wind, the spectators, the coins plinking into his case. It’s just him and the music and a 12-year-old soul.

Like Daddy.

I am rooted to the curb as the crowd comes and goes. I close my eyes and let the music spill over me like the snow.

After a time, five minutes, ten, the last notes drift off into the evening air. I open my eyes — the boy takes an elegant bow, gathers his case, and disappears into the café. There is a smattering of applause. Beyond the road, I see some girls from school walking along. They would never stop for this. They would never do something so weird and “out there.” What is it with me?

Daddy was “out there” too, and then he took his music too far.

How much is too much?

I walk away slowly, kicking the snow with my feet pensively.



The first day of the science report presentations dawns cold and crisp, and the classroom is thick with anticipation — and a dash of nerves.

Girls frantically review their notes. My own report is typed out at home, and my mirror probably knows it by heart. But I don’t have to talk today — mine is the 12th report — which is a good thing because my hands are clammy just thinking about it. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 678)