Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 32 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
Blumi walked into her hotel room and kicked off her shoes. This week had been draining beyond belief. She sank into the rattan chair in the corner of a room and passed a hand over her eyes. When she’d first arrived in Israel, she’d planned to stay at her father’s apartment for the week of shivah, but Gideon claimed that her brothers would not take kindly to the idea.
“What will they think, that I’m planning to take over the apartment?” she’d argued. “That I’ll lock the door from the inside? That I won’t let them in? What, exactly?”
“I don’t think they’ll suspect that those are our plans, especially since we are not lacking for such an apartment by any stretch, baruch Hashem. But family members never like it when one of them displays an especially strong connection to one of the possessions of the parents who have passed on, and certainly not something the size of an apartment.” He took a deep breath. “Inheritances are always a sensitive subject.”
To her relief, he did not mention the rift with his own brother, Shimon. She had no energy to hear about his complex family entanglements right now, and anyway, it wouldn’t happen to her. She wouldn’t fight with any of her brothers over the yerushah; she’d know how to go about it in a smart way.
“Fine,” she’d murmured then, a bit dazed. “So we’ll sleep in a hotel.”
She didn’t mention the idea of staying at her father’s apartment again, even when, on the fourth day of shivah, the last visitor didn’t leave until after two in the morning, for some reason, and she and Gideon were almost collapsing with exhaustion. But the warning note in his voice stopped her from suggesting that they sleep there. Gideon had had a bitter experience with regard to inheritances, family relations, and brothers, and she didn’t want to step on any toes. She wouldn’t overtly display to her brothers any special connection to her father’s apartment, just like she’d made sure that they hadn’t seen the envelope she’d given to that bachur. She had no idea who, if any of them, even knew about it, although she had a feeling that her brothers knew something. But whether or not that was the case, it was clear that they would not take kindly to her interest in the yad from the shelf in her father’s top cabinet.
But what did they want? Or rather, what would they want if they would know about it? Over the years, her brothers had always been so practical, so lacking emotion for anything nostalgic. Who had always been Abba’s listening ear? To whom had he told his stories from the past? And to whom had he said, “You want it? Then it will be yours after my one hundred and twenty”?
Only to her. Only her.