"I have this amazing friend,” Kaylie began.

“Sara Malka Teichman?”

Kaylie turned sharply. “How do you know?”

Aaah, the cholent, it smelled strong enough to bring down the house. Mimi shrugged.

“She got her degree in graphic design way back when and she really has a way with color and design. Though she doesn’t do this nowadays — she’s a Teichman, so she’s busy hosting luncheons and tzedakah events, she’s really something else.”

Mimi nodded. Thursday nights meant evening shift at the restaurant and she loved it; the smells made you feel Shabbos coming, as if it were a silk caftan you could stroke. And it was always a teeming hub of families and boys and men, all of them good-natured over a bowlful of cholent magic. She really didn’t care to discuss the Teichmans.

“Anyway, I asked her if she can hop over tonight, so we can all review the choices before I meet with Daddy to confirm them.”

Mimi straightened. “All review together?”

“Wait, don’t tell me you’re upset now,” Kaylie warned. “I asked you a million times about everything and you just brushed me off!”

“That’s ’cuz you weren’t particularly interested in hearing what I had to say.”

“What?! What in the world makes you say that?”

Mimi shrugged. No point hashing this out with Kaylie. It was enough that she refused to consider the BIX lady’s magnificent floors. Enough that she’d come back from the show to find that the whole deal on the ordering software had already been handed over to Daddy — by Kaylie. She clenched her fingers.

She’d been sure she would find a way to influence Kaylie’s choices. But somehow, she could never have a decent conversation on the topic — it was too awful. There was no way to stop Kaylie with her color samples.

Kaylie sighed and walked past Mimi to her desk. “I really don’t know what you want from me. Mommy refused to get involved. She told me point blank that she’s leaving it all up to me. And you… you don’t want to give your opinion at all! Then you go and get mad at me.” She plopped into her chair, clearly exasperated.

I don’t want to give my opinion of your choices, thank you very much. I’d rather make my own. Mimi just shrugged again. “So when is Sara Malka coming?”

Kaylie perked up. “Oh… soon. She has great taste.”

“I’m sure.”

Soon came fast enough, Mimi thought, when Lady Teichman swept into the back office, smelling of some fancy perfume she couldn’t place and brandishing her Coach bag like it was a trophy. She was wearing a printed dress and big jewelry. Trendy, but pointless, Mimi thought.

“Kaylie, so nice to see you!” She gushed. Her voice was too loud. You’re in someone’s private office, mind your manners.

Kaylie gushed right back.

“It’s my pleasure, anytime,” Sara Malka told Kaylie, modestly, “Not that it’s easy to find the time… The luncheon for Kol Chesed — such a mitzvah, I love to help them! Still, the work eats my neshamah out. But what don’t you do for a friend?” Here she gave a somewhat saintly smile, and turned to Mimi. “And hello to you, too. Who are you?”

Excuse me, Mimi thought, this is my office. 

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 585)