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Yaffa was gratified to find the hallways empty. What if they would have been teeming with students just then? What would she have been expected to say, do, respond? She walked with smaller steps than she had taken on her first day at the school, but at least now she knew where the office was.
Three pairs of eyes turned to her as she appeared in the doorway: Yael, Chana, the head secretary, and Faigy, her assistant.
“Good morning, Mrs. Levinsky,” Yael said naturally, lifting her head from a large sheet of paper spread out before her on the table. She took the page and stepped into the inner office, switching on the light as she did.
Yaffa hesitated for a moment. “Good morning,” she finally replied, forcing herself to smile at the secretaries, who were clearly sizing her up. She followed Yael into the other room.
Yael was already sitting on the black chair, the same kind that the teachers’ room had to offer, and was continuing to peruse the paper she was holding. She raised her eyes after a few seconds. “Why aren’t you sitting down?” she asked Yaffa, pointing to the brown leather chair on the other side of the desk. “These are the class lists for the ninth grade, and I want you to look them over to see if they’re okay.” She pushed the page toward the empty brown chair and then turned to the door, where Yaffa was standing.
“Nu?” she said with a smile.
“This is very hard for me, Yael,” Yaffa said, a blush rising in her cheeks. “If I have to look at that paper, you can give it to me here.”
“Absolutely not,” Yael said, sounding like she was trying to suppress a smile. “That’s your chair for now, and there’s no reason for you to stand.”
The situation was so comical that even Yaffa’s lips curved upward in a smile. “Is that how you usually talk to the principal?” she asked.
Yael chuckled. “Now you sound like a real principal,” she declared. “Good for you, Yaf—em, Mrs. Levinsky. You’ll go far, b’ezras Hashem.”
By now Yaffa was standing directly behind the brown chair. “But it’s still delusional,” she said quietly, not realizing that she was quoting her sister Chaya’s exact words. “It’s unbelievable to think that I’ll be sitting in this chair, at this desk, and will tell you if the class divisions look alright. I don’t understand anything about these things, and I…” Keep Reading…