Recap: Vivian Killen was caught on camera. She had started the bomb scare so that she could steal Ruchama’s article from her backpack. Vivian was brought to the police and Ruchama got her article back. Now Mrs. Schwerner is proposing a shidduch for Ruchama, and Ruchama is worried if the boy will write her off because of her health issue.
My mother was reading over Michael Aryeh’s resume. “I called all the references. He sounds like a top learner and someone with exceptional midos.”
I was sitting with my mother in the kitchen sipping hot cocoa.
“Do you want to say yes, Ruchama?”
“Yes, but he knows about the…” I hated saying it. “Epilepsy?”
“His family said yes to the shidduch. He doesn’t know about it. Our rav said you must tell him about it but it can be on the third or fourth date.”
My mother called Mrs. Schwerner and now it was just a matter of time until he booked his flight to America.
I called Ella. “I’m excited and nervous.”
“I’ll daven for you.”
“What if he doesn’t speak English?”
“If his father is from America, he probably taught him.”
“I hope so.”
That night my mother told me that Mrs. Schwerner had called and Michael Aryeh had booked a ticket. He was coming in three weeks.
Three weeks later, I was dressed in my best Shabbos dress, a gray A-line dress. I was wearing small silver hoops and fidgeting with a silver bracelet. I paced back and forth near the front window. What would he be like? What would we talk about? Part of me wanted to run and hide.
The house was sparkling. There was a plate of homemade brownies and a pitcher of water on the table. I would wait in the den while my parents spoke with him and then I’d come out and meet him. My stomach was all jittery.
I heard a car pull up. I peeked out the window. A tall, slim man wearing a black hat and suit was heading towards our house.
I hurried back to the den to wait. My heart was racing.
The doorbell rang “Hello, welcome,” I heard my mother’s voice.
He was in the dining room with my parents. I was pacing back and forth.
I heard my name. My high heels click on the wooden floor. And there he was. He smiled shyly.
We headed out to a hotel lobby near the airport.
“You speak English?” I blurted.
He chuckled. “Betach.”
“My Hebrew isn’t that good,” I said.
“Yes, my father made sure we all could speak and read English.”
He opened the car door for me and he asked me where I’d like to sit in the lounge.
Our conversation was stilted in the beginning, but then, as we both shared our thoughts about our families, I felt the ice breaking a crack.
“I heard about the paper you wrote for college. My father told me it got stolen when he came to give a speech.”
“Oh, that was crazy. There was a bomb scare. It was a miracle that I’d taken photos of the bell tower and in one of the photos we saw someone was getting into my backpack.”
“What did you think of my father’s story?”
“His journal was incredible. He was so brave.”
“He often told us about his experiences in Mississippi. It changed his life.”
We were both so involved in conversation that we lost track of time and soon the lounge was emptying out.
Michael Aryeh drove me home. “Driving in America is very different,” he said. “I like this rented car. It’s nice, no?”
It was prearranged that we would go out on the next night. He was supposed to stay for two weeks.
After two more dates, I was thinking that this was going very well.
“The next date, you will have to bring it up, Ruchama,” my mother said.
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 freelance for Hamodia. She works as a writing consultant in many yeshivahs and she teaches creative writing to students of all ages.