Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 52 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
It was early afternoon when Yoel parked his car near the community center in Yokne’am. He had popped over for a surprise visit to his sister and her children, to see how they were; maybe he’d order some pizza if he saw she hadn’t prepared lunch and they hadn’t eaten yet. But only Dovi and the baby were home, along with the girl who lived with them. There was a tantalizing aroma of something baking in the oven, and Dovi’s face was stained with ketchup, though he ran to clean it off before going back to cheder for the afternoon.
They didn’t know when Chaiky would be home, so Yoel decided to wait for her here, outside the community center. After waiting ten minutes, however, he gave up and called her.
“Chaiky, are you going to be at the community center for a while?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, sounding a bit disoriented. “Why, did you need something from me?”
“I just wanted to visit. I’m parked outside the community center now. So, should I come back another time?”
“No, no,” she said hastily, sensing that it would not be wise—or nice—to send him away after he’d made the effort to come all the way there. “The truth is that a few interesting things have happened here, and they are just telling me about them now. I’d want to hear your take on them. I’ll be out in two minutes, okay?”
“Fine,” he said, and leaned back. He wondered how long “two minutes” was, in female language.
It wasn’t as long as he’d feared. After four and a half minutes, he saw Chaiky walking down the path, Naomi’s hand tucked into hers. They climbed into his car.
“Hello, Yoel.” Chaiky’s voice was tight.
“Hi. Regards from your house—it smells delicious there, and everything was calm and quiet. Since when does Dovi go back to cheder in the afternoon?”