Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 35 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.
After pausing hesitantly one more time, Menuchi picked up the phone that she had just hung up and dialed reluctantly.
Simi picked up.
“Um, hi, Simi. How are you?”
“Hi,” Simi replied cheerfully—as always, come to think of it. “I’m good, baruch Hashem. How are you?” Her voice was warm, much like her mother’s. It was the same voice that she had been using to speak to Menuchi for an entire week already.
Come on, Simi’s waiting for an answer! “Baruch Hashem, fine…” Ribono Shel Olam, what are you supposed to make small talk to a sister-in-law about when you have a favor to ask her? School? Shidduchim? The pages we worked on together? Whatever came to mind seemed trite and tasteless to Menuchi. Simi waited.
“Um…” Menuchi despaired of finding a topic for small talk. She would just state her request directly. “Tell me, maybe you have an idea of what I can give, I mean buy, for the seminary girls I teach?” The girls I teach. How presumptuous. One would think that I spend twenty hours a week with them. “I mean, for a good-bye present. My lessons there are stopping for now because the girls are starting vacation in two weeks. Less, even.”
“What vacation?” Simi asked, puzzled.
“They’re being sent home early for Pesach vacation. There are serious money problems there, and it looks like the school might even close down permanently.”
“Oh, no, that’s too bad. So you’re stopping to work there?” Keep Reading…