Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 26 of a new online serial novel, Beneath the Surface, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every Thursday or Friday. Click here for previous chapters.
“Yehudis and Tzippy! Sit down nicely! Baruch! I’m closing the window; you’re sticking your hand out!” The boy looked at Adina with interest. He asked her something, but she didn’t understand.
“What?” she asked.
“Say ‘yeladim’!” he said in an almost clear voice. She laughed.
“Yeladim! Everyone sit down nicely!” She glanced out the window. The gray day was cold and windy; pieces of paper and dry leaves blew every which way.
“Children, look out the windows. There’s a big, big tree. It’s so big!” She stretched her arm towards the ceiling of the van. “And it’s so, so sad! So very sad! Why? Because all the leaves went so far away. The leaves are its sweater. And now it’s cold because it doesn’t have a sweater. What should we say to make it happy?” She pretended to act chilly and shivered.
The children didn’t respond. They were riveted to her little performance and didn’t even consider looking out the window.
Adina continued in her pidgin Hebrew. “Let’s tell the tree: Don’t be sad, tree. Don’t be crying!” She covered her face with her eyes and pretended to weep. A few children tittered. The rest gaped at her in fascination.
The driver stopped the van. “What happened?” Adina panicked for a minute. “Everyone’s sitting so nicely!”
“They are sitting very nicely,” the driver said, leaning back in his seat. He took a crumpled newspaper out of his gray satchel and opened it up. “We’re at the Shlomowitzes’ house.” At that moment, Adina noticed a young boy running down the path.
“Sorry I’m late,” Baruch Shlomowitz’s brother apologized. “Is Baruch here?”
Adina nodded. She understood his question. “Bye, Baruch, have a good day!”
Baruch stopped at the van’s open door but didn’t get off.
“Do you need help?” Adina offered. Keep Reading…