I was done. I had driven to Hartford, let myself into our old house and spent two hours opening cabinets, checking dryer lint, crawling into crawl spaces looking for damp spots, rubbing my foot on the parquet to see if something was a scratch or just scuffed. For the record, it was all scuff — I’m blaming the movers. Quick phone call to the agent, longer phone call to the handyman, and I was ready to call it a day.

Everything looked the same in Hartford: the street sign on a wonky angle, the broken screen door, the rooster mail box from the previous owner. Not sure why I expected things to be different.

Food, I needed food. The last thing I ate was a piece of stale kokosh cake after my morning coffee. I wanted something hot; the house was freezing, we had left the heat on only high enough to stop the pipes from freezing.

I checked the time: 12:06. Not bad, I could be home by 2:30. Just a quick Starbucks pit stop and I’d be on the road. I texted Rafi. Leaving soon, checked everything, called the agent and the handyman. Ready to roll in a week. Really, the whole thing hadn’t been as bad as I thought it would it be. It had sounded like a huge pain, but doing it wasn’t such a big deal.

I would not take that lesson to heart.

The Starbucks parking lot was empty. I took that as a good sign. There was no one in line. I gave the barista my order, picked up a granola bar, then moved down the counter waiting for the coffee to be completed. A deep breath. It smelled good.


I turned around slowly, trying to place the voice. Young, brunette, her kid had been in Daniel’s class, somehow I knew that, but I couldn’t remember her name. “Hi!” I said, I hoped enthusiastically enough to cover me not calling her by name.

“I knew it was you, you have such a distinct profile!”

“I do?” I said. I do???

“Yeah, totally. It’s so great to see you, what brings you back here?”

Wait, I thought, go back to my profile, what makes it distinct, and how would you know when I barely know you? I shrugged. “We’re in middle of selling our house, so I was just checking up on some stuff.”

“You’re selling?” She sounded really disappointed. I nodded.

“So sad, I dunno, I guess something in my head thought you guys would hate the city life, and you’d come back. We really miss you.”

She missed me? Her husband probably misses Rafi is more like it.

“We need a little more of your personality here.”

Personality? Me? Does she know me? I don’t know her.

“You probably don’t remember, but I’ll never forget when we had the Chanukah fair and you came to pick up your kids, and Daniel was competing with Reesa Blanchuk’s son, making a dreidel out of clay. Reesa was ‘helping’ her kid so you decided to ‘help’ too, even though there were like three minutes left. You totally creamed them, and Selma was sulking and saying ‘Not fair, she’s an artist,’ and you muttered ‘I guess someone’s not dry and ready.’ I was standing close to you. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 574)