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Author Topic: Ongoing Story 3
in the gap

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Post Ongoing Story 3
on: February 11, 2014, 9:54 AM

Ruchi rushed into the classroom with the bell, hoping that none of her students would be able to tell she just woke up ten, oh wait make that eleven minutes ago. "Girls please find your Siddurim and begin, we don't have that much time if you want a last minute review before the test."
With that, she sat down by the desk and began to make up her review. For the past three years she had developed a reputation of being the easiest eighth grade Chumash teacher and the principal wasn't too happy with her for it. Was it her fault that she didn't have time to prepare classes and tests, so she stuck to whatever she remembered from her own eighth grade days? Last night had been just one example of the crazy life she leads. Her latest date with Shloimy had only ended at a quarter to one and she had then decided to wait up to call Rebbetzin Goldstein, her favourite teacher from sem. Things were progressing nicely but she was unsure if she was happy due to desperation or if she really felt good about it. Furthermore, to make matters more complicated Shloimy's little sister was in her second period of the day and Shaindy had been acting up lately, but Ruchi was uncomfortable calling the mother.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 11, 2014, 5:53 PM

Her phone lit up in her lap while she was finishing up the review, with five minutes left of davening. From: Mommy 'Mrs. Richter left a message on the house phone. What do you want to tell her?'

Ruchi's eyes widened. I have to make a decision already?? She looked up to find the first of her students putting away her siddur. 'About to start teaching, Ma, ttyl'

One review, one test, and five minutes later, Ruchi found herself starting the next period, no closer to clarity about what to tell the shadchan. She surveyed her class before entering the room. There were three girls grouped together in a corner, probably discussing the latest book that they weren't actually allowed to read but all did anyway. Shaindy was sitting on her friend Orly's desk, comparing notes about something. One girl was doodling, one was doing jumping jacks. And there are even some girls ready to start class, Ruchi rolled her eyes.

Clearing her throat, she threw her shoulders back and entered the room, pulling twenty pairs of eyes to attention.

"Morah Kagan, can we have a class discussion about high school interviews?" Orly smiled her sweetest smile, eyes only flitting away from Ruchi's face to exchange a look with Shaindy.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 11, 2014, 7:27 PM

Ruchi stopped in her tracks momentarily before remembering to keep walking. She knew this would be coming soon, as it was a big part of the girls' lives. On one hand, she did want to have this conversation with them, and it also meant that she had more time before having to teach this badly prepared lesson. But on the other hand, she really did sometimes have to be strict or the girls would start bouncing off the walls. She also didn't trust herself to have such a deep discussion with the girls today, and she knew that was what this conversation would turn into.
With her mind made up, Ruchi turned to the class, "that is a good idea Orly, but not today. Today we will be learning about Matan Torah, and Im Yirtzah Hashem, next week we will set aside a day to discuss high schools. I know that interviews do not start for another two weeks, so we are very safe."

The girls gave an audible sigh, but settled into their seats and opened up their chumashim. Ruchi started teaching, ready to throw herself into something besides this dating situation, which she had been thinking about during the last period test.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 11, 2014, 8:32 PM

"I don't know Ma, really! I'm thinking 'yes,' but I don't know."

Ruchi chewed a forkful of salad and swallowed. She had taken her lunch outside to her car, as she had needed some time alone to think about last night's date and what to tell the shadchan. Of course her mother knew when her lunch break was, and she'd broken into Ruchi's thinking time. Ruchi had answered the call in the hopes that talking things out with her mother could help her gain more clarity. It was dangerous sometimes, relying on someone so nogeiya b'davar to advise her with her shidduchim. That was why she spoke with her sem teacher as well.

It had only been three dates, and Rbtzn Goldstein had pretty much told her that it sounded like things were positive and she should continue. There was something bothering Ruchi though, but she couldn't get a handle on it. She enjoyed the boy's company, and they seemed to agree on whatever they'd discuss thus far, but Ruchi just wasn't sure about him.

"Listen Ruchi, nobody is asking if you want to marry him. Simply put, do you want to spend another couple of hours with him? You're just agreeing to a fourth date."

"I know! But, I just, well, I just don't want to string him along or something. I don't know where this is going, and I don't want him to think that I really like him or whatever."

"Sweetie, don't think like that. He probably doesn't either know where this is going. It's just how these things go. You keep going out if you think things are positive until one of you makes the decision that there isn't further potential. "

"I guess. Did you speak with Mrs. Richter? Did she tell you what he said?"

"She left a message on the home machine. She just said she spoke with Shloimy and he said he had a nice time and would like to see you again. She was wondering what you thought. That's all. I can ask her for more feedback when I call her back, but I need an answer from you first. Do you want to go out again?"

"You think I should? Rbtzn Goldstein said I should. I guess I should. Okay, yeah, tell her yes."

Mrs. Kagan laughed.

"I knew you would say that. Daddy said you looked really happy when you came in last night. Not that that means anything per se, but I assume you had a good time. Sorry I didn't wait up for you; you got in pretty late, no?"

Ruchi ducked her head even though she knew that her mother couldn't see her.

"Yeah, it was late." Ruchi chewed her food thoughtfully. " I guess I had a good time. I mean, it was almost six hours long. We talked about a lot of things. He's just so easy to talk to. I feel like he understands me."

Mrs. Kagan smiled to herself. She'd married off two daughters and a son already; she knew when things sounded like they had potential.

"Okay honey, I'm going to call Mrs. Richter when I get off the phone with you. Do you want to go out tomorrow night if he's available?"

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 12, 2014, 12:37 PM

"Tomorrow night? So soon?"

Ruchi's newfound confidence vanished as soon as it appeared. Last night's outing had left her quite tired, and it would be one thing if she taught English or History but she taught Limudei Kodesh; she was only able to snatch a few hours before she had to be up. She felt a flash of irritation.

"How is it so soon?"

"Ma, my classes are starting to suffer. I was so groggy today that I misspoke enough times to get the girls giggling. I don't want the principal to think I'm a shlock. Motzei Shabbos is still early enough; after sleeping all afternoon I'll have caught up, and then I can also sleep in on Sunday morning. Please."

"Oh, all right. It certainly won't make you look bad if you are claiming responsibility. I'll explain to Mrs. Richter."

"Thank you so much, Ma. I gotta go."

She eagerly dropped the phone and dug through her salad for an elusive bite of chicken. She hadn't had time to eat a proper breakfast, only a bite of a stale granola bar before she had run into the building, still chewing.

Tap, tap.

Ruchi looked up as Naomi, her fellow teacher, opened the passenger side door and slid in. "Why are you hiding out here?"

"I'm not 'hiding.' I just had to make a private phone call."

"Ooooooh, no need to get huffy."

Ruchi's teeth clenched. When she first met Naomi she thought it was going to be great, a friend on the faculty who was her age and also single. But Naomi, it turned out, was not a pleasant person to be around. She was always negative, and looking to make someone else look stupid. She was also a yenta. She had ferreted out that not only was Ruchi dating someone in particular, but that it was also a brother to a student. Ruchi didn't know how, but she wasn't going to giver her the satisfaction of any more information.

"I wasn't being huffy," Ruchi said calmly and evenly. Naomi seemed to enjoy it if she made her get defensive, and she learned to remain bland with her. "You asked a question and I answered you."

Naomi now switched tacks.

"A salad? Are you watching yourself or something, huh?"

Ruchi opened her mouth to snap a retort but closed it. Don't get defensive! she reminded herself. She paused long enough so the chutzpah of the question floated in the air, and Naomi reddened.

"I like salad," Ruchi finally said, matter-of-fact and unapologetic. "Naomi, you came looking for me. Was there something you needed?"

Naomi was quiet, but Ruchi could tell she was thinking quickly. She probably had wanted to gossip about Ruchi's dating. "Um, where are you up to with your students?"

Ruchi decided to be generous and let Naomi hide behind that question, since they had already discussed this two days ago. Ruchi finished her salad and glanced at her watch. "Lunch is over," she reminded Naomi.

The two stiffly walked back into the building. The day had barely started, and already Ruchi felt wiped.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 13, 2014, 9:14 PM

Shoshana returned the phone to its cradle with a contended sigh. Another satisfied customer!

Shoshana had been working for Mrs. Ostroff as a travel agent for almost three and half years now, and she really enjoyed the work. She found it intellectually stimulating to sort through different permutations of airlines and flight options to find the cheapest and most convenient flights for customers. She hadn't wanted to go to college, and Mrs. Ostroff had trained her in the year she'd come back from seminary. Shoshana found the work satisfying, and a nine to five job was what she needed to fill the time on her hands. Plus, she was working on her nest egg, hoping to support her future husband in learning for a few years.

Things were crazy at home, and her job was the only stable thing in her life right now. Shoshana relished the relative quiet at work. It'd been quite awhile since she'd last been on a shidduch date, but perhaps more than the average girl her age, she could not wait to move out and start a home of her own.

Shoshana's cell pinged with an incoming text. She glanced at it quickly.

From: Ruchi K. U free aftr work? Need a friend!

Shoshana smiled. She and Ruchi had become friends last year after attending the same shuir a few weeks in a row. Shoshana had asked Ruchi for a ride, and it'd turned into a weekly ritual. They'd become fast friends. Ruchi and Shoshana weren't the same age, but they were in the same stage in life. After high school friends get married and others just went their separate ways, it was important to branch out and make new friends.

Shoshana typed a quick reply and hit "send." Then she went back to her computer screen.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 18, 2014, 10:59 AM

Shoshana's home-life was tense. The trouble began a few years ago when her younger sister began to act out. It gradually escalated until she was expelled from her school. Then she began dressing differently, disappearing without explanation. One day, she was rushed to the hospital, non-responsive, from what turned out to be a drug overdose.

Life was just a cycle of stress, fear, and sadness as her parents tried every which way to bring Dina back. They had sought the assistance of every rabbi, every psychologist, every program available. Dina had been shaken enough from her near-death that she responded well to rehabilitation, but she was still viewed as a ticking time bomb.

Shoshana found herself now taking on all the tasks that should have been her parents', driving carpool for her little brothers, giving them supper, putting them to bed, while Dina was taken to yet another counselor who would hopefully "get through."

She had told Ruchi that she could have a quick coffee after work, that her parents were at a wedding so she had to watch the boys. She hadn't told Ruchi, or anyone else for that matter, what was going on at home. She didn't want any awkwardness affecting their friendship. She knew Ruchi wouldn't judge her or hold it against her, but it wasn't about that. She could have some "normalcy" when she spent time with Ruchi, and she wanted to keep it that way.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 20, 2014, 1:14 AM

"I just continue to go out with him because nothing is 'wrong,' but I feel like maybe I'm just being desperate. Like, if I was a guy with a long waiting list, I'd have probably been on to the next already."

"Do you really feel like that?" Shoshana asked Ruchi. They were sitting in a quiet corner of a coffee shop not far from Shoshana's office. She had a few stolen moments to spend with her friend before going home and facing all her responsibilities.

"Yeah, I do. I mean, with other guys I've been out with, there have been things about them that either rubbed me the wrong way, were warning signs, or just bothered me. There isn't anything like that here. The thing is, I'm not sure that that gives me reason to continue, you know? I mean, I don't not like him. He's a good guy. Good middos. Has a lot of qualities I'm looking for in a husband, I mean, as much as I can tell thus far. I just, I don't know, I don't feel like he's 'the one,' but I don't know why. So, like, do I keep going out with him?"

Shoshana knew that Ruchi just needed a friend to vent to. She needed her support and her friendship more than anything else. She wasn't really asking her what to do about this shidduch. It wasn't wise to ask friends for advice, no matter how experienced they were in terms of dating.

"What do your parents say? Did you speak to your seminary teacher like you usually do?"

"Ya, my sem teacher says basically that it's too early to tell and if I'm not saying that I don't like the guy I should continue, and she likes what she's heard about him thus far. My mother is singing to the tune of 'you keep going out until you have a reason not to.'"

"Are you saying that you have a reason not to?"

"Well, not really. I mean, there may be potential here, but I've connected with or stam just liked other guys better in less amount of dates. I feel like maybe I'm convincing myself that I like him or that this could work or whatever because I'm being desperate, you know?"

"Totally hear you on that. Remember the last guy I dated...like many moons ago? We went out six times only because I felt like when would another guy come along and I'd get another chance to date. He was totally not for me. I should have ended it sooner. But, it sounds like this is different. You're not saying that you think he isn't for you, just that you're not sure. It seems like it's too early to tell. Not everyone knows right away or gets engaged in five dates."

"I guess you're right. Truthfully, I enjoyed the time with him more or less. I have to ride this one out. Maybe he'll end up saying no, who knows?"

"It's easier that way isn't it? I mean, after you get over the rejection bit, right?"

Ruchi laughed. "To an extent. Leave the heavy lifting to him. I'm not sure how I feel about this one, though. Some of them I want them to say no, this guy, I'm not so sure."

"Sounds like you need to give it more time. You realize that another date isn't a commitment, right? It's just about whether you want to spend another few hours with him. He's paying for the date remember. It only costs you time."

"You sound like my mother! She was saying that I'm not agreeing to marry him or stringing him along by going out again. He knows just as well as I do that another date isn't a marriage proposal."

"I have to agree with your mother on this one."

Ruchi sighed; she was still torn. It helped a little to talk it out with a friend, but she still felt like she was just talking herself in circles. There wasn't a good solution to her dilemma.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 20, 2014, 11:36 AM

Shoshana waved goodbye to Ruchi as they opened the doors to their cars. While she was making a point not to advertise her sister's situation, she felt a tightness in her chest. She knew that Ruchi had needed a sympathetic ear, that she was feeling pressured and guilty for going out again when she wasn't sure, but seriously, was that such a major issue? In the meantime, Shoshana's sister had nearly died at her own hand!

This is what you wanted, a voice said reasonably in her head as she reversed out from her spot. You wanted to keep conversation to light things like dating and shoes. If you tell Ruchi about Dina, you two will never talk about dating or shoes again.

She became impatient as she was held up by a long light, nervously looking at the clock. She had to get home before the boys did. But her car made it into the driveway as the bus pulled up. She called "Thank you!" to the bus driver as Meir and Eli barreled out. She waited until they got into the house before she hugged them, not wanting to embarrass them in front of their friends. She didn't want them to feel the lack that Ima was rarely around, mentally as well as physically, to fuss over them.

Shoshana opened the fridge and debated what to make for supper. The boys were probably ravenous, and she should cook something that went quickly. There was meat in the freezer but she had forgotten to take it out this morning to defrost.

"How about French toast tonight?"

"Yeah!"

"OK, now have a banana as a snack and start your homework until it's ready."

"Aaaaw!"

"The faster you take care of your homework the faster you can play that new game I bought you."

"Yeah!"

Shoshana donned an apron, quashing her resentment against Dina. Why did she have do to this? Why was she hurting their parents? Why was she hurting her and the boys? Why was she hurting herself?

What did they do that was so terrible?

***

"Hi Ma, I'm home!"

"Did you get the milk?"

"Yes, Ma, right here."

"Oh, thank you, that would have been bad for tomorrow morning."

Ruchi was the youngest. With three older siblings married, she and Akiva were the only ones left. Akiva was older than her by two years. After he came home from Israel, he had told their parents that he wanted to go to college at night and gotten his degree in accounting.

Their father was a professional, and he hoped to see his son perhaps join him in the family business. He was ecstatic when Akiva said he would like to apply to business school. He was now learning in a local yeshiva that was also in close proximity to the college he had chosen to attend.

What was concerning Ma was his dating life. He did date, quite regularly, more than Ruchi did (to her annoyance) but he came home with vague evasions why this or that girl wasn't for him. While Ma was able to talk Ruchi into going on more dates, she couldn't push Akiva.

"I never could," she would sigh. "He was stubborn from birth."

Ruchi was drawn to the stove, where a steaming pot bubbled. "Meatballs? Akiva's favorite? Ma, I'm starting to feel like chopped liver," she teased.

"Don't be silly," Ma said. "I'm hoping I can get him to agree to go out again with that sweet Levine girl. That boy doesn't even have a reason to say no! What could a second date hurt?"

As if on cue, Akiva walked in. "Ah! Meatballs!" He waited a beat. "Ma, she was very nice, but I just don't see anything coming from it."

"Why not!?" Ma wailed.

"Ma, thanks for making me my favorite supper," he said as he walked over and kissed her on the cheek. "I only have a short amount of time to eat before I have to get to class. Can we talk about it later?" He jiggled his eyebrows meaningfully in Ruchi's direction.

"Akiva, I'm not a child. I'm 24 to your 26! I've even set you up, thank you very much."

"So let's talk about your date from last night," Akiva said craftily.

Ruchi sighed, giving up, as she sat down at the table with her brother, and the two began to eat without talking.

***

"Did the shachan call?"

"Um, no sweetie, not yet. You know I would have told you, right?"

Bracha Levine name-called Akiva Kagan in her head. The date was pleasant, much nicer than one she had in a while. He had taken her to a restaurant, which was a refreshing change from a hotel lobby. He was polite and considerate. Although, they had different opinions about a number of things, but Bracha knew that couple don't have to have identical thoughts. What would be the fun in that?

She was guessing that if the shadchan hadn't called back yet, it must be because he was going to say no. That was fine. But she hated not knowing where she stood.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 21, 2014, 3:26 PM

Just tell the shadchan she's a nice girl, but I'm not interested in pursuing it further.

Mrs. Kagan sighed as she read her son's text. When he started evaded conversation and resorted to texting that meant that she no longer had a chance at changing his mind. It was frustrating really. He agreed more or less readily to go out with whomever he was set up with, after his mother did extensive research, but he rarely agreed to a second or third date. He never really even had a concrete reason to say no. If someone pushed him for a why, his go-to was to say "there was no 'click' feeling." He knew better than to pull that on his mother though. She would lecture him on the importance of staying openminded, and that you have to get to know someone a little sometimes before feeling like you connect with them.

Mrs. Kagan put in an apologetic phone call to the shadchan, and then she started calling references of the next resume in her pile. It really was so different to have a son in shidduchim than a daughter.

* * *

Shoshana had supper and homework taken care of by the time her mother got home. The boys were playing relatively quietly when their mother walked in the door. She threw Shoshana a grateful glance and then went to her room to kick off her heels and take off her sheitel.

"Long day, Ma?" Shoshana asked casually as her mother came into the kitchen in her pre-tied and crocs. It was a rhetorical question really. Her mother always had long days. She worked full-time, and was always busy with Dina's care.

"Yup, but nothing unusual. I went to visit Dina today. Her therapist suggested that we do another family session this week. Think you can fit it in? I don't want to involve the boys, but I think it'd be helpful if you're there."

"Okay, Ma. Just tell me when. I'll work it out."

Shoshana sighed. She wanted to help her sister in any way that she could, but these family sessions seemed pointless after awhile. Her sister just sat there and complained about how the family hated her, how she hated the whole system, and that she couldn't understand how she, Shoshana, was still frum.

Their parents tried so hard, but Dina only rewarded them with more pain. Shoshana was beginning to understand that Dina was in a lot of emotional pain, but she couldn't for the life of her figure out why.

"Anyway, honey, how was your day?"

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: February 24, 2014, 11:44 AM

Shoshana had to be careful in everything she said to her mother, not only Dina. She didn't want Ma to be burdened by any resentment she may be harboring; after all, Ma was certainly hurting more than she was, her own child in the throes of anger and self-destruction.

She didn't want to mention Ruchi's "dating woes," lest her mother think it was a hint to her current dateless life, that Ma may feel that she should be doing more for her.

"Oh, same old, same old. I had a coffee with Ruchi, and we chatted a little."

Ma nodded tiredly.

"Ma, have you eaten anything? I can make you something."

"No, no, you've done too much today."

"I made the boys some French toast, and I still have some more leftover challah. It's right there defrosting. Please."

Ma gave in. "Thank you, mammelah."

With Dina's vindictive behavior, Shoshana felt hyper-conscious of being the best possible daughter. Dina's meltdown was, oddly enough, an inspiration for her to work on her kibud av v'eim. Sometimes it felt overwhelming. Sometimes she slipped. But she would not give her parents' moment's grief, to make up for Dina.

"What about Abba? Should I make some for him too?"

"Yes, yes, thank you, he went to mincha/maariv."

Shoshana drowned the bread in egg for a few minutes, and used the time to tell the boys to kiss Ma goodnight and get into pajamas. The boys didn't know everything, just overheard scraps here and there, but they were certainly aware that not all was well. They handled their mother tenderly, watching her worriedly with wide eyes.

They tiptoed carefully into the kitchen, dutifully pecking Ma on the cheek. Meir wrapped his arms around her neck, and Ma clung to him fiercely, pressing her lips against his head. "My good boys, my good boys . . . such wonderful big boys I have."

Beaming from the praise, Meir and Eli marched up the stairs. "Remember to brush your teeth!" Shoshana called up. "I'll be up soon to make sure your breath smells minty fresh!"

She turned back to the kitchen to find Ma fingering her tehillim. It had been a wedding gift from Abba's mother so many years ago. Now Ma rarely went anywhere without it.

Shoshana sat at the table and took her mother's hand; Ma's fingers bit into hers. The two sat quietly, saying nothing. What could there be to say?

***

Bracha's alarm bleeped, and she nearly fell out of bed. She rubbed her face, brushing her fine auburn hair away from her eyes. She had had a restless night.

She clattered down the steps, a headache building behind her eyes. "Morning," she yawned. "Oh, shoot, I forgot my backpack," and she staggered back upstairs.

"Bracha, the shadchan texted me last night, after I went to bed," Ima began somberly.

"He said no, huh?" Bracha felt a swoop of disappointment in her belly, but nothing terrible. She had felt worse before. It was yet another stab at her self-esteem, when she was trying to be open but the guy across the table didn't appreciate that.

"Are you upset?"

"No, no, Ima, not at all. Really. I gotta run," she said, grabbing a granola bar from the pantry. She hauled on her backback and ran out the door. The bus stop was about 15 minutes walk, and the professor for her first class made a fuss over any tardiness.

***

While everyone was telling her that the fourth date didn't have to "mean" anything, Ruchi couldn't seem to help fantasizing the worst. What if she really didn't like him, but because she didn't take a stand she ended up marrying him? She visualized herself terrified beneath a chuppah, with Shloimy standing next to her, trapped.

It didn't help that his sister was giving her a hard time. Shaindy wasn't overtly chutzpadik, and Ruchi couldn't figure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Shaindy managed to coax other classmates into asking distracting questions, so Ruchi couldn't really blame her, even though she knew that Shaindy had put them up to it.

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: March 2, 2014, 11:49 PM

From: Mommy Mrs. Richter called 2 ask if u'd rather go out Sun than Motzei Shbs?

Ruchi glanced down as her phone lit up in her lap. She'd put her phone on silent, but kept it accessible. Her class was davening and she was grading papers, but she was waiting for a text from her good friend Batsheva.

Batsheva had been dating this guy for a little over a month now, and it sounded like, at least from Batsheva's perspective, that they were getting engaged any day now. Ruchi had spoken to her yesterday evening before Batsheva had gone out on what had been her eleventh date, and she'd said she'd text Ruchi when she got back. At 2 AM, a text Ruchi had only seen when she'd woken up this morning, Batsheva had texted her "Ur probly asleep by now. Things went well! Update in the AM?"

Now Ruchi sighed, and discreetly replied to her mother's text.

"Y?"

A minute later, she received a reply.

"He wants 2 do an activity. Day date ok w/ u?"

Ruchi typed "k, 2 PM?", and sent it. Why hadn't Batsheva texted her yet? She was so curious what was going on. Was Batsheva still sleeping? Had she forgotten to text her? Ruchi started a new message.

To: Batsheva G'morning! Just wanted u 2 know I'm thinking of u!

A few of her students were finishing sh'monei esrei, so Ruchi slipped her phone in her bag. She'd catch up with Batsheva later.

* * *

Shoshana returned Mrs. Ostroff's tight smile as she dumped her bag at her desk. She'd emailed her last night asking if it'd be okay if she took off an extra hour and half for lunch today. She'd been okay with it, though not very gracious. Mrs. Ostroff couldn't understand why Shoshana let things spill into her working time. It wasn't her first choice, but like in cases like today, it was the only time that worked for her sister's family session.

Shoshana opened up her inbox and got to work. She sifted through emails from potential customers, sorting them so she could attack each section effectively. The phone rang, and she stopped what she was doing to pick it up.

* * *

"G'morning Akiva'le." Mrs. Kagan greeted her son as he walked in the door from shul. "How was your chavrusa-sheft?" Akiva put down his tefillin bag and made a beeline for the kitchen. "Good, Ma. Tzvi's really working out," Akiva said as poured Raisin Bran into a bowl. Mrs. Kagan sat down next to him as he poured milk into his cereal and began to shovel food into his mouth.

Akiva raised his eyebrows at his mother. He knew what was coming. As he expected, her next words were, "So, I started looking into the Goldberg girl, and I think this one really sounds promising." Akiva sighed. "Okay, let's have it," he said to his mother. "Specs?"

Mrs. Kagan grimaced at his choice of words but started telling him about the girl all the same. "Well, she's 22, 5'5", supposedly really pretty, warm, smart, motivated, has personality, great middos, a tzanua. The family sounds really nice. She's an OT, and based on the research I've done, I think it's a great idea."

"Okay...so, fine, I'm available most evenings next week." Mrs. Kagan grinned. That had been easier than she thought it would be. But then, getting him to go out on the initial date was hardly the struggle. It was the continuing past date one or two that was the difficult part.

Akiva got up to rinse his bowl in the sink. He went to grab his stuff and was halfway out the door before she could talk to him further. "Oh, Akiva, by the way, she's from out of town, but you don't care about that, do you?" "Bye, Ma," he started to call. "Wait, what?" He paused in the doorway for a second. "She'll come in though, right? Yeah, that's fine. Let me know when you have an answer from them." Mrs. Kagan sighed. "I told them you'd go to her for the first date..." she mumbled to herself, as her son was already starting the engine to his car.

* * *

Meira rummaged in her bag for a pen and yawned. She had too little sleep last night. She was up late doing homework, again. She felt like the work for college was never-ending. Meira glanced over at her seat mate Bracha to ask if she had another writing utensil, when she noticed that Bracha looked really glum.

"Psst, you okay?" Meira whispered. Bracha glanced at her. She barely knew Meira, she wasn't about to spill her sorry shidduch stories to her. "Ya, just tired," she whispered back. "Okie, do you by any chance have another pen?" she asked cheerily with her signature grin.

Professor Earlbach frowned in their direction without interrupting his droning. Bracha handed Meira a pen quietly and turned her attention to her notebook. Meira studied Bracha's posture. Something was definitely up. She leaned over discreetly to study Bracha's doodles. Hearts and curlicues meant relationship issues...a name meant a relationship that was further along. Meira noticed that Bracha was absently doodling boxes and squares. Conventionally that meant she was trying to work through an issue, but was she reading too much into this?

Meira sat back in her seat and tried to pay attention to her professor. Maybe she'd have less work to do if she concentrated better in class. She'd found that she had to teach herself the material from scratch when doing her work and studying for tests.

The girl sitting on her other side kicked Meira softly. Meira glanced at Tobi. Her eyes were focused on the ground where someone had dropped a note. Sure, the class was boring, but this wasn't high school. Meira sighed. It was really her fault, she'd started the note-passing and distractions in the beginning of the semester when she'd realized she couldn't get through this course without dying of boredom if there wasn't something else to focus on during the boring endless lectures.

outoftowne-
r27

Dater

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Post Re: Ongoing Story 3
on: March 6, 2014, 8:04 PM

"I don't really know what to tell you, Devora," Mrs. Kagan told her sister on the phone as she washed the dishes. "I told you before that Akiva would fly to Minneapolis to go out with the Goldberg girl, but he doesn't buy it. What should I do?"

Devora Young raised her eyebrows. Almost nothing her nephew said surprised her anymore. He was a great boy, but so stubborn! It seemed like he enjoyed being on the guys' side of the game - the side where he could be as choosy as he desired. It didn't help matters that he really was a catch: a shtark learner-earner, in business school and already equipped with a degree.

"Well, do you want me to talk to Mrs. Goldberg? I have to call her soon anyway about carpool tonight; I can find out if Elisheva is willing to travel. I honestly don't remember the last time she went on a date so she might be open to the idea, even though originally when I mentioned the idea we thought he'd make the trip."

After hanging up with her sister, Devora checked on her sleeping baby, then picked up the phone to call her neighbor, the mother of Elisheva Goldberg. Her husband had thought of Akiva for Elisheva the last time their families shared a Shabbos meal together. Devora thought it was a great idea, there was just this travelling detail to sort out.

***

Batsheva yawned and looked at her cell phone screen. She jumped at the numbers. How was it already 10:00?! She hurried to wash negel vasser and get dressed so she could daven. What would Avrumi think if he knows I just overslept like that! He probably woke up at 6:30 for Shacharis as usual... She shook her head. How did he do it? He was dating seriously, about to get engaged (he'd clearly hinted as much on their date last night), and yet he still almost never missed minyan or seder!

Batsheva sighed in ecstasy. She was lucky that her client was out of town for a few days. Their out of town family simcha couldn't have been timed better. Her current assignment as a full-time nurse for a family with newborn triplets and an elderly grandmother to care for was very fulfilling, but she'd have felt pretty guilty having to cancel on them to get engaged.

An hour later, she sat down at the dining room table with a notepad and her cell phone to make herself a to-do list. Before she managed to write anything, her cell phone pinged. It was a text from Avrumi. She smiled and replied that 4:00 tomorrow would be perfect. As the text sent, her phone's screen flashed again. 24 missed alerts! Well, aren't I popular today!

***

Elisheva Goldberg listened to her mother with a straight face. "Let me think about it, please, Ma. I'll let you know soon." Her mother sighed as she watched her daughter descend to her bedroom in the basement.

A moment later, she was on the phone with her mentor, a teacher and family friend who'd moved to New York since Elisheva had graduated high school five years before. The hour time difference between the Midwest and the East Coast was actually convenient; whereas Elisheva's famiy had just finished eating dinner, Mrs. Richter was already done putting her little ones to bed and was settling into her evening of working on shidduchim, something to which she dedicated herself for three evenings a week.

"Elisheva! It's so good to hear from you!" The warmth in Mrs. Richter's voice was genuine. Elisheva relaxed in the virtual presence of her teacher. Mrs. Richter was quiet as Elisheva explained her predicament. She was very familiar with the situation, as she'd shared many a conversation with both Elisheva and her mother about the wisdom of Elisheva staying in Minneapolis so many years post seminary. Her student's twenty-third birthday coming up next month didn't escape her mind either.

"So I'm really tempted to fly out to New York to go out with him - his name is Akiva Kagan, by the way - because he really sounds like everything I want. All of his references and the non-references too had only good things to say about him. But my boss doesn't love when I take off work so often. I haven't gone out recently, though... what should I doooooooo?"

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