Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 24 of a new online serial novel, The Cuckoo Clock, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week. Click here for previous chapters.
Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications.
Perhaps it is irritating to see a young woman who is still on cloud nine from her wedding, and forgets that somewhere there, down on earth, other people still exist. She talks only about herself, thinks only about herself, and is sure that aside for her and her new spouse, the world has stopped in its tracks. But it is far less pleasant to see that same woman shedding copious tears, blowing her nose over and over, and unable to utter a single word.
And to know that you’re to blame for it all.
With remarkable timing, Shmully woke up just then with a piercing wail, and Miri, who was so embarrassed she didn’t know where to put herself, forgot for a moment what to do with him. Pacifier? Bottle? Pick him up? She began to rock the carriage mechanically, peeking at Tzippy from the corner of her eye. Tzippy slid the album into a shiny bag that matched the leather cover. Her hands were shaking so violently that she could not grasp the zipper to close it.
What should Miri say now? “Tzippy, I want to invite you for Shabbos. Come, it will be nice; we’ll remember that we really are sisters who get along”? Tzippy would just glare at her with hard eyes. And besides, they were going to Yaakov’s parents this Shabbos. She couldn’t suddenly inform her mother-in-law that they were not coming.
Maybe, “Tzippy, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to make you cry”? So what did you mean to do? Insult, scream, and say whatever you want to her, and then expect her to just keep on smiling?
Miri continued to rock the carriage vigorously, and soon the anger inside her—or perhaps it was the envy again—mounted and overpowered the resonant voice of her guilty conscience. Why should she have to pay rich Tzippy the measly one and a half shekels for a photo, when she lived in a hole in Pardes Katz, wracking her brains to figure out how to finish the month, while Tzippy—who had just been handed an above-standard wedding and all of sheva brachos on a silver platter—owned an amazing apartment in central Bnei Brak and was also receiving a monthly stipend, without her doing anything but sitting with her hands folded?! And all this simply because she happened to have been named Tziporah Genendel?!