Book Excerpt

Book Excerpt

It is midnight and I am awake. Wide awake. I start to bite my nails and tap at the mysterious package nervously, my mind spinning and tumbling. Huh! I was actually lulled into thinking that I was on vacation. I even allowed myself to get excited—for a moment—and now this. I tug at the string angrily. It seems like there’s always something to worry about, to anguish over.

I honestly (although I would never tell this to a soul, certainly not to Julie Shapiro) wanted to get away from all of this; to drive away from the feeling that I must fit in with the community and to run from that heaviness I feel when I realize I don’t measure up.

I look down at the package and then over at Sam who is happily driving, listening to the third day of creation as if he had just experienced the ‘first evening’ and ‘first morning,’ his face aglow with wilderment. He is not going to help me out, I am sure of that. Sam will probably tell me to relax because my mysterious Reb Schwadron will simply appear out of nowhere without me even having to look for him.

My faith is not so fully developed and this I cannot accept. There is no way I am going to run into this Reb Schwadron in an RV park—that much I am sure about. I could start by asking in synagogues down south, but which ones and where?

As our RV races down the highway, I try to relax. I may have a new worry, but at least we’re on vacation. Ever since we moved into our new house, I have wanted to escape. I think our reserved neighbors are also relieved that we are gone. Even they were not prepared when our moving truck screeched around the corner just one month ago, depositing cartons followed by six Berkovitzes, smack in their center. Fingers delicately parted the curtains and eyes peered out inquisitively. Neighbors picked up their phones and word of our arrival spread faster than the time it takes to bake kosher shmura matzah –less than eighteen minutes. At least we gave them something to talk about.

“A new family moved into Shulman’s house. Remember old Yankee Shulman? The one with the limp.” “So, who can they be? He had no children.” “Yes, but he had a cousin, the one who married Shmuel’s youngest. They could be the kids.”

“Let’s send over a Welcome Basket. Purim is in a few days, so call Leahle and have her deliver mishloach manos.”

This was March in the dead of a Canadian winter, a time when ice granules pummel a frozen wasteland and the thermometer dives to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

It is now just one month later and we are leaving; although only for two weeks. I take the last sip of my coffee and sit back in my seat. I am wide awake, thanks to the caffeine. Sam is still absorbed in his Torah tapes. I rummage through my hand bag and pull out my journal, hoping to placate my nerves. It has a sticky coating. Is this from the cough syrup I stuffed in my purse as we ran out the door? Or maybe it’s that gooey gummy candy I snatched out of Tamar’s mouth earlier today? I may no longer work at the law firm, but am still addicted to accounting for time, so I obsess over keeping a journal. Clicking on the flashlight, I see that the book has fallen open to March 18. As Sam contemplates the world and my children’s eyelids flicker dreamily, I read under a warm, glowing light.