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Fiction: Chanukah Clash

Roizy Baum

It was a risky undertaking, that’s for sure. My school friends thought I was off the wall and they made sure I knew it

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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S ome people are vaguely familiar with Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law? Hmm. Rings a bell. Maybe something we learned in the lower elementary grades when we went through adages.… Why should they be familiar with an epigram that doesn’t apply to them? They’re from the people who drop their peanut butter sandwiches right-side up, or rather, don’t drop them at all.

They’re from the people who never have their grocery bags tear, especially not when they’re balancing two handfuls of groceries, and it’s the bag that embraces a container of cherry tomatoes that tears and the container unfastens and before you know it there are tomatoes scurrying in all directions: some beneath driving cars and others under stomping feet, squirting a seed straight into your eye, and when you bend down to retrieve the tomatoes, the watermelon you’re carrying in the other hand slips to the floor and cracks. No, they’re not from this planet of people. But ask me about Murphy’s Law and I’ll answer you loud, boisterously, and confidently: Murphy’s Law is if anything can go wrong, it will!

The Swiffer was swishing with intensity over the smear of peanut butter (from a sandwich that fell right-side down of course, and I was in a rush to clean the mess before Mom came home) while the phone was cradled between my ears and shoulder, as Faigy, the closest cousin my age from the Rosner side of the family, was filling me in on her Chanukah plans. “My family is thinking of coming to America for Chanukah and we’re considering spending a few days in New York with you!” she was saying.

“You’re staying by me! Are you?” I was saying rather than questioning. I knew I had full permission to invite Faigy to sleep at our house. She’s from Vienna and is like my sister on her New York trips.

“Yeah, that’s part of the plan. Hold your horses. I’m getting to that!”

Our relatives know that they’re invited to us anytime, all the time. And they know we mean it wholeheartedly. Every extended member of our family has already received multiple invitations, and to our great pride and joy, there were several who accepted in the past. Our home is large enough to accommodate lots of guests. My parents and I (yup, that’s our family. For now. But I still haven’t given up on filling up all the bedrooms in the house with siblings of my own) have a shared love for guests, and as we have many relatives overseas from both sides of the family, opportunity keeps knocking on our door.

“Faigy!” I said, barely containing my exhilaration, “I’m on a high!”

“You’re sure it works for you?” she asked as a measure of etiquette, not as an inquiry, knowing quite well that she’s very welcome. “I’ll let you know when my parents confirm the tickets. Talk to you later.”

I put down the phone in the greatest of spirits, though realizing that it would be a long wait until her arrival. I was conjuring up images of endless DMCs on the sofa in my bedroom, deep into the night, clutching bags of jelly worms and penguin jellies (our favorite). Ahhh. I could barely wait. (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 689)

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