Israel Book Shop presents the epilogue of a new online serial novel, Divided Attention, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © 2010 by Israel Bookshop Publications
If not for the rag that wiped the dust off each Thursday, the cover of the keyboard that Abba and Ima Cohen had bought Rafi for his eleventh birthday would have been completely gray with dust. No one had touched it for the past year.
A light evening breeze blew through the open window as Rafi entered the empty room, placing his suit and hat on the bed. This was the same bed that had warmly accepted him at age nine, and although more than seven years had passed, there was nothing that could compare to its comfort. Ima had been saying for years that they had to replace the bed, but Rafi thought it was needless. In the dorm rooms where he sometimes rested in the afternoon, there were much newer beds, but there was something about sleeping at home each night. He did not know how he would give it up next year, when he would be dorming in a different city.
Perhaps it was strange that a sixteen-year-old boy still needed the security and protection that only a home could provide, but that’s the way he was. Nava said that it was very normal, and that everyone finds it hard to get used to full-fledged dorm life at first. Ima said that it might be more pronounced with him because of what he had lacked in the past, and Abba said they would ask Reb Shlomo if he thought they should apply to a local yeshivah gedolah in Yerushalayim, or if he should go to a different city. Abba claimed that a dormitory was very good for the maturing process.
Did he still need to become more mature? Apparently. If he was able to miss the feeling of the keyboard keys under his dancing fingers, then he probably was still quite babyish.
True, it had been a whole year already—or a year and a day to be exact—since the last night that he had played. But it had been the year of mourning for his mother, not a voluntary abstention. Keep Reading…