Recap: Miri is assigned to cover and event and Mr. Quail is there, so she must interview him. She notices a glint of hatred when she shows him her press card that says Miami Jewish Times. Although she decided to stop submitting the installments of the feature about World War II because of the threatening letter, her editor’s urging convinces her to send in a new installment. After she submits it, she regrets doing so.
I dressed with care. This was my best friend’s wedding. The blue A-line gown with lace eyelet overlay was elegant. I swept my hair back in a fancy up-do. I liked how the sea-blue color of the dress contrasted with my auburn hair. I slid on my best dressy black pumps.
I applied makeup and then I gathered all the “shtick” together to put into the car. My stomach felt all fluttery. It was Leah’s wedding. I was driving to Leah’s wedding. The birds were chirping and the palms seemed to sway more than usual, as if they were dancing at her wedding.
When I arrived at the wedding hall, there was no one there except Leah and her mother and sisters.
Just then, I saw Daniel Blaustein, He was walking towards me.
I felt my heart pounding
“Miri,” she grabbed my hand. “I’m so nervous. I can’t believe this is happening.” She showed me her gorgeous wedding gown. It had a lace bodice and layers of tulle that puffed. It reminded me of a bride doll I’d had as a little girl with a pretty white wedding gown.
“It’s stunning!” I gasped.
“Wait till you see it on her, b’li ayin ha’ra,” her mother said as she stepped towards us.
“Mazal tov,” I said as I hugged Leah’s mother. Leah and I had been friends since I moved to Miami at age eight. Her mom was almost like my adopted mom in a way. I watched her help Leah into her dress and thought for a moment how nice it would be to have my mom with me on my wedding day. I had to stifle that thought. Everything is exactly how it is supposed to be. Hashem is in charge, I reminded myself. Everything is r’tzon Hashem.
The hours of preparation slipped away, and after Leah davened the Erev Yom Kippur Minchah, Leah’s father was motioning her mother and Leah to come enter the reception hall. It was time for breaking the plate. The joyous moments rushed past in a blur of excitement. There was the Bedeken and then the Chupah. I davened so hard at the Chupah for Leah and her new husband, for a r’fuah sh’leimah for Aunt Bella, and for my bashert to come soon. “Please Hashem, bring him very soon!”
Then the dancing. We danced circles and circles around Leah until our feet barely touched the ground. I laughed and cried and cried some more. Leah pulled me into the center and we whirled round and round together. It was the kind of moment you just never want to end.
As I was making my way back to the table to find the water bottle we’d brought for Leah, a familiar figure approached. Dalya Brownstein was wearing an elegant black dress. Her long hair was swept up in a bun. She looked glamorous. “Hi, Miri. I’m so happy you’re here. I don’t know anyone at this wedding.”
“Oh, so how did you come to know Leah?” I asked, puzzled. I didn’t think Leah even knew Dalya. Why was she here?
“Oh,” She thrust he left arm towards me and pointed to a diamond bracelet dangling from her slender wrist. “I’m a kallah,” she said.
“Mazal tov!” I tried to give her a genuine hug. Why her before me? I felt those questions bubbling and forced myself to stop that destructive line of thinking. “So, who’s the lucky guy?”
“Oh, he’s good friends with the chasan. That’s why I’m here.”
Now it made sense. Just then, Leah’s sister Rochel grabbed my arm and pulled me into another wild dance.
It wasn’t until dessert that I found myself seated with Dalya Brownstein at a table. She was chatting about her upcoming vort and where she planned to live. I listened politely and bit into a chocolate pastry.
Just then, the music started up again and I hurried to the center of the room. Dalya Brownstein joined the circle. Her diamond bracelet sparkled under the lights of the chandelier as she danced.
The music took another turn and everyone headed to the m’chitzah to peek at the shtick on the men’s side. I watched a man juggling three bowling pins. Dalya slid next to me. “This is such a great wedding. I think I will try to book my wedding here.”
Luckily, the music was so loud I didn’t feel the need to respond. Just then, I saw Daniel Blaustein, He was walking towards me. I felt my heart pounding. Was he coming to speak to me? My cheeks flushed. Was he going to apologize and ask to begin again? I would accept his apology. I would say it was just a misunderstanding, and…
“Miri,” Dalya gushed. “I want you to meet my chasan.” Daniel stood awkwardly nearby. And then I realized with a rush of shame and astonishment: Daniel Blaustein was Dalya’s chasan.
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of Denver Dreams, a novel (Jerusalem Publications, 2009), Memorable Characters…Magnificent Stories (Scholastic, 2002), Befriend (Menucha Publishers, 2013), The Road Less Traveled (Feldheim, 2015), fiction serials and features in various magazines including A Bridge in Time, historical fiction serial (Binyan Magazine, 2017). She writes the community column for the Queens Jewish Link and she writes the Queens page for Hamodia. She works as a writing consultant in many yeshivos and she teaches creative writing to students of all ages.