S ara Leah used to talk poetically about the smell of the ink, the way the deep, wet fragrance assaulted her when she entered Tatty’s print shop, flooding her senses, intoxicating her like wine.

Aidy opens the small door to the shop, inhales, then lets her breath out in a whoosh. To her, it just smells overwhelmingly like ink.

“Aidy,” Tatty calls from behind the cutting machine. His voice is chapped and thin. “I’m glad you came.”

“My pleasure,” Aidy says, automatically, throwing her coat behind the counter. The setting sun glints through the frosted windows. It’s warm inside, too warm, and she has her own paperwork to complete, but Wednesday has always been her day to help out in the shop. Not that there’s much helping to do these days, but she hasn’t the heart to say so.

“No, I’m glad you came because I need to talk to you.” Tatty looks up from feeding a stack of paper to the folding machine.

Aidy nods. Of course Sara Leah found the ink soothing. She would breeze in, peck Tatty on the cheek, hum a camp song, fiddle with the colored papers; Tatty would smile back, mellow. He never looked at her wearily and said he needs to talk.

“Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush. We need to talk about you. About Yehuda. About you and Yehuda.” He looks her in the eye. Aidy feels herself go numb. “Yehuda is ready to remarry, Aidy. He’s willing to go out with you.”

Heat rushes through her lungs. No. No, no, no, please, no— (Excerpted from Calligraphy, Succos 5778)