Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 2 of a new online serial novel, Dance of the Puppet, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
Elchanan arrived home at one-thirty punctually, as usual. Sophie had only just recently left. He was greeted by a delicious aroma, one screaming baby, and one tired, confused wife.
“I don’t know what she wants from me,” Yaffa said. She put the bread down on the table and brushed invisible crumbs off her housecoat. “Do you think it’s so terrible to leave school when you’re doing so poorly there anyway?”
“It’s a very good, smart move,” her teacher had told her at the time, when she had come to school the day after the vort, walking straight into a classroom full of excited, albeit slightly uncomfortable, girls. “I wouldn’t be telling this to a lot of girls, but you, Yaffa, really are very mature.”
It was nice to get the compliment, which had helped drown out the wave of whispers that had exploded the minute her engagement had become public knowledge. She was so young, only at the end of eleventh grade, and not a soul had known it was going to happen.
“I don’t ask friends for information,” Elchanan’s mother had said with her strong French accent. “What do girls know at this age? Nothing, absolutely nothing.”
Her friends, almost all of them, really wouldn’t have been able to give information about Yaffa. They simply knew nothing about her. During lessons and oral tests, Yaffa’s voice went silent. During recess, the girls also hardly heard her. Was it because she was refined?
She seemed to take written tests, but no one had ever seen her grades, not even the one or two girls who were considered her real friends. Was it because she was a poor student?
The girls knew that she had lots of nieces and nephews in Elad and Yerushalayim, that she was the youngest at home, and that she helped out her married sisters a lot. Did that mean that she had a good heart?
One minute—there was also the time she had volunteered—or her services had been volunteered—for that annoying job of collecting money for a teacher’s gift, but she’d delegated the reminders and the nudging and the actual purchase of the gift to someone else. So did that mean that she was or wasn’t responsible?
What was she? Read More…