Isnuck away from the noise and revelry and went up to my room. This phone call needed to be made in privacy.

I felt my stomach tighten as I dialed the familiar number. I quickly calculated the time difference. Was Rochie still up? She was always a night owl, so it was worth a try. I needed to be the one to tell her my good news.

“Hello?” Her cheerful lilt came down the line. “Chaya? What’s up? Why you are you calling me at this unearthly hour? Everything okay?”

“Did I wake you?” Stop stalling, you coward!

“No, I’m smack in the middle of baking for Chaim’s latest siyum on Seder Nashim.”

“Rochie,” I said, forcing my own cheer into my voice. “Minna’s a kallah!”

“Oh, my gosh! Mazel tov! Wow! When? Who?”

“Right now. They got back to the house about a half hour ago. His parents are on their way to make a l’chayim and the vort will be next week. But I had to call you right away. His name is Yehudah Stein. Learns in Lakewood.” And then my lips took over, spilling the news, giggling as Rochie asked for all the delicious details.

Then I glanced at my watch. “I really have to go back downstairs to them, and besides, I don’t want to keep you up anymore.”

“Do you think I’m going to sleep now? Call me when things calm down tomorrow. If they calm down! You probably have tons to do!”

I hung up, the silence suddenly deafening. I knew I had to go back downstairs. Wanted to go back downstairs. But a wave of weariness swept over me. Would Rochie be able to sleep tonight? What were her thoughts as she stood alone in her kitchen with my news buzzing in her brain? I knew she was happy for me. But what else did she feel?

Rochie’s three years older than me. But the age difference rarely mattered. We’ve been as close as sisters since she moved into the house next door when I was in eighth grade. Rochie quickly became a leader in her class and led the way for shy little me to be included at recess, in performances, and all through high school.

When she got married and moved to Eretz Yisrael, I was lost. But she always kept up, always made sure I knew how much I mattered. She was even my shadchan. Over the years, we shared the intricacies of challah baking, the ups and downs of child raising, and the tears and laughter of life’s stepping stones.

She was only three years older than me, and her daughter Esti was three years older than Minna. And while Minna hadn’t even officially been dating, Esti had been in the parshah for five years already. And now Minna was a kallah.

I wished I could pick up the phone again, call Rochie back, and start one of our soul-to-soul conversations.

“Roch. Are you jealous of me?”

“Jealous?” She’d laugh. “Nope. So happy for you. And don’t worry about Esti. Hashem’s got her bashert waiting — I’m sure she’ll meet him soon.”

Because that was Rochie. Upbeat and optimistic.

But hadn’t I been jealous of her over the years? Hadn’t there been a twinge of green when I looked at the pictures she had sent me of Chaim at his upsheren? Chaim of the golden curls. Chaim at his bar mitzvah, making a siyum. Chaim getting a brachah from a gadol.

Chaim was the same age as my Benny. But Rochie didn’t know about Benny. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 578)