T oby rolled her mat up slowly; the rest of the group was already in the locker room, pulling skirts

on and zipping sweatshirts over their yoga getups.

“Kale is out — beets are in,” Leeba declared at the small table near the gym’s juice bar. Toby shifted her eyes to follow the reactions. Ruchie looked bored, Shana was shaking her head vigorously. Toby had never actually had kale, she’d just nodded and sipped water; green drinks were not her thing no matter how healthy. Beets she actually liked, but all of a sudden it was cool to eat them? Toby had never been cool in her life. Grounded, considerate, thoughtful, her teachers used to say about her. So grounded she divorced after six months.

“Yech,” Leeba’s voice intruded on Toby’s musings. “The juice girl totally put kale in here. She’s messing up my antioxidant cocktail.” She walked back to the bar to confront the woman.

Wasn’t the whole thing about kale in drinks that you couldn’t taste it, it just colored the drink and gave you vitamins you didn’t know you needed? Toby’s thoughts were interrupted— “Let me speak to your manager!” Those were Leeba’s shrill tones.



Toby was tempted to go in through the side entrance, just head to her room in the basement and avoid her parents and the hovering disappointment. But she knew she’d hear from her mother later and figured she might as well get it over with now.

The kitchen wasn’t its usual sad self. All the lights were on and there was something bubbling on the stovetop — no cold supper on a half-cleared table.

Mrs. Gilden entered the kitchen from the other side.

“Great news, chérie, you have a date. Or you could have a date, actually you can always have a date if you want to date maladjusted cretins, but now you can date a mensch — if you want to, of course.” (Excerpted from Calligraphy, Issue 704)