Recap: Bayla went on a few shidduch dates with Reuven Brodsky. She doesn’t really want to continue with him. In the meantime, a letter came that the war is ending. Margie called that she’s home sick with a cold and wants Bayla to come when the doctor comes cause her parents aren’t home.
Margie was lying on her bed.
Her nose was as pink as her pink bedspread. “Can I get you anything?”
“No,” her voice was scratchy. “I’m just so angry that I got sick. I was supposed to host a tea for a princess from Iraq.”
“Yeh, but I was looking forward,” she croaked.
I stifled a giggle. “Sorry, but you sound like a frog.”
“Thanks a lot.” She threw a pink satin throw pillow at me.
I mused how Margie and Mimi, two people in my life, both fell ill frequently.
“When did you get sick?”
“I started feeling achy last night at the dinner we were serving for the ambassador from Spain.” She sighed. “I really don’t want a new doctor to come. It’s just not comfortable for me.”
A woman knocked. “Miss Margaret, the doctor is here. Shall I send him up?”
She reached out her hand and I held it. “Okay,” she whispered.
There was a knock and the doctor entered. I stared at him. I think my mouth may have dropped open. Margie sat up a little. “Dr. Laurent? You’re in Washington?”
“Yes,” he chuckled. “I believe I am.” He glanced at Gloria and me. I looked away.
He opened his doctor bag. “You’re lucky to have your good friends here.”
“I’ll wait outside,” I mumbled. My cheeks were flaming. Gloria followed me to the hallway. What was he doing here? I hadn’t even congratulated him on his engagement. What was wrong with me?
I stood in the hallway trying to compose my thoughts. Remember, he is an engaged man. He is in Washington for some reason. I wished my cheeks would stop burning.
A short while later, he stepped into the hallway. “It’s a bad cold but nothing worse. I’ll prescribe some aspirin for the fever and she needs to drink a lot of liquids.”
I was looking down at the floor. “Thank you, doctor,” Gloria said.
“She’s lucky to have such a good friends taking care of her.”
He strode away before I could congratulate him or respond to his compliment.
Margie was fitful with fever, but she wanted our company. We talked about good times in Missouri and the plays we’d done together.
She finally fell asleep around midnight and we both tiptoed out just as her mother was returning from the ambassador’s dinner.
She thanked us for staying with Margie. Gloria told her what the doctor said.
“We were in such luck that Dr. Laurent just came into town. He came back a few weeks ago from Europe because his uncle was unwell. He was needed to take over the practice.”
“So, why is he in Washington?” I blurted.
“My husband had called him in for some sort of consultation. Thank G-d, everything is fine, but he only trusts Dr. Laurent.”
“So, he’ll be going back soon.”
“Yes,” Mrs. Truman hung up her little jacket and then she escorted me to the door. “Thanks for being such good friends to our Margie.” She gave us each a little hug and we headed out into the cool Washington summer evening.
I was surprised when I got home to find a telegram. Fearing bad news, I ripped it open quickly.
It was from Rebbetzin Greenberg in Missouri. “Dr. Laurent would like to go out with you. Please send your reply.”
I plopped onto the nearest chair.
“What is it?” Gloria asked in concern.
“But he’s engaged.”
“Gloria, look at this.” I showed her the telegram.
“Whoa, that’s amazing. Do you want to go out with him?”
“Not if he’s engaged.” I called Margie who answered groggily. “Margie, please, can you find something out for me?”
“Now?” she croaked.
“Sorry, it’s just I need to know if someone’s engaged.”
“Can you ask your mother or someone to find out if Dr. Laurent is engaged?”
“I’ll tell you later.” I hung up before she could question me more closely.
A half hour later she called back. “He’s not,” she croaked. “Now tell me why.”
“You need your rest,” I said. “I’ll tell you all about it soon.”
“Hey, you can’t get away with not telling me.”
“I will tell you.”
I hung up smiling.
To be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of Secrets in Disguise (Menucha Publishers 2020), 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). Fiction serial in The Jewish Press – Falling Star (2019), article in the Winter 2019 Jewish Action Magazine. She contributes to the community column for the Queens Jewish Link and writes freelance for Hamodia. She works as a writing consultant in many yeshivos and teaches creative writing to students of all ages.