I f her e-mails weren’t enough to make me tear my hair out, Susanna had to actually call me, so I had to sound polite and professional over the phone — not rewrite my responses five times because I was having a hard time editing out the words Make up your mind and stop driving me insane. Maybe I could avoid her call like I did the PTA lady who wanted me to donate something for the Chinese auction — don’t know what I’m doing about that. I answered Susanna’s call the ring before it went to voice mail.

“Hello?”

“Oh, Abby, thank G-d you answered,” Susanna rushed. “I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t — what a mess.”

What was going on? Was there a miscommunication in the e-mails? It wasn’t like I had started working on the ring: We hadn’t yet finalized the design.

“I was looking at the design, and I realized — I’ve been tweaking and tweaking and tweaking so much that I’ve lost all focus.”

I kept quiet. What was she gonna say next? She lost focus and the ring wasn’t so important after all; it was all about her fiancé and she’d be happy with a ring from the 25-cent machine?

“So I’m tweaking, when I should have just been nixing.”

Nixing?! Please don’t tell me she means what I think she might mean.

“I want to meet with you, and start at the beginning. Let’s start fresh and design together. When do you have time for me?”

This woman could not be serious. If the ring she wanted weren’t so expensive, I’d drop her right now. Money is such an annoying thing. I took a deep breath and chose my next words slowly. “Susanna, I want you to be incredibly satisfied with your ring, it’s symbolic of the most important relationship in your life. Understand, though, that I invested a lot of time in the current ring, and starting again from the beginning would incur a significant fee.”

Significant fee? Was that the right word? I don’t want to sound money-grubbing, but yeah, right now it’s about the money — and the gift I could make for Shifra and the extras I could do for her shower…

“Oh, Abby.” Her voice dripped pseudo-niceness. “You’re so sweet worrying about my money. Trust me, don’t worry about any fees. Like you said, it’s symbolic of my most important relationship, so what difference does money make when it comes to something so important?”

Well, if she and Matt were fine with a nice extra charge in real dollars for a symbolic ring, who was I to stand in their way?

“Okay, then. I have some time early this afternoon, around one, or tomorrow morning. Does either work for you?”

“One? Today? Perfect. Thank you so much, Abby, you’re a doll!”

“My pleasure.” And we both hung up.

Me? A doll? Ha! That was too funny, must remember to tell Rafi, and Shifra, and Chana, and anyone who knows me. Ugh, I’d have to put on my sheitel when she came, and put on more than blush and mascara. I should charge more just for that.

At 1:03 the bell rang. A mass of blonde hair floated into my meeting room. A super citrusy scent echoed Susanna’s movements. She wore those white-laced Adidas-looking sneakers that were actually Gucci. Like that made nerdy okay.

“Oh, Abby, thank you so much for doing this. The thought of going ahead with a ring I didn’t love was devastating. I just couldn’t.”

Yes, yes, lady, same way I couldn’t say no to you, though the opposite would make life simpler. I pulled out a chair and ushered her to sit. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 566)