I t boggles the mind, honestly, that no one ever invented fish perfume.

I stabbed a fork at the salmon fillets I’d bought from the caf? around the corner — tonight’s main for dinner, now sitting in the oven — and sniffed. They didn’t smell up the kitchen, the way normal fish does when you buy the raw thingies and cook them for real, instead of picking up two $20 entrees and pretending you’d prepared them on your own. At some point, Efraim was going to figure out that I can’t cook; I’d been doing this the entire week, since sheva brachos were finally — finally — over.

In a world of chrayonnaise, cholent Crock-Pot baggies, pre-peeled potatoes and Nish-Nosh salad dressing, no one ever thought to invent fish spritz? Ridiculous.

The doorbell rang, and I shut the oven and hurried to open the door. It was Shana, our next-door neighbor, whom I’d met just briefly last week when we’d moved in.

“Hi!” she chirped, extending her arm to give me a plastic container. “Welcome-to-our-neighborhood cookies! I bake them for all the new people.”

“Oh, wow! Thanks!” Maybe I’ll pretend I use a special fish-neutralizer air freshener. If such a thing exists.

“So how do you like it here?” Shana was saying conversationally.

“Lived here all my life, actually,” I said, thoughts racing. Maybe it does exist — I need to check Amazon — and I could just leave it out on the windowsill so he can come to conclusions on his own, in case he gets suspicious. (Excerpted from Calligraphy, Succos 5778)