Recap: The Wright brothers receive a rejection from the War Department, so they decide to offer their flying machine to the French government. Wilbur goes to Paris and Sender is with Orville in Kitty Hawk. One day, Orville lets Sender have a ride in the flying machine.
The next morning, I still didn’t have an idea for the writing club and my stomach was hurting. Maybe it was just from all the stress and worry about the bully and the writing club. Sunlight filtered through my window shade, pooling on my desk where the old journal lay. I sat up and my head was pounding. I rose out of bed. I touched one of my newly glued model airplanes.
I dressed slowly and headed downstairs for breakfast.
Ima took one look at me, felt my forehead, and sent me back to bed.
“Ezra, you have a fever. Are you feeling all right?”
“My stomach is bothering me.”
I had a reprieve from the bully and the writing club, but staying home in bed is not much fun. I could hear my parents and the Arons talking downstairs. Outside, a bird was singing and I heard cars passing. I sighed. I hate being stuck in bed. At least I didn’t have to go to school and face the writing club with no topic or possible attacks from Kalman; still, being stuck in bed was boring. I reached for A Bridge in Time and started reading it a second time.
It was Thursday, and Ima was busy shopping for Shabbos. Ima came into the room on the way to the store.
“Aunt Shani and her chasan are coming for Shabbos. I hope you’re better by tomorrow. I would hate to have to cancel.”
“I’ll be better.” I loved when Aunt Shani came, and I wanted to meet her chasan.” Aunt Shani always had great stories, and she was the aunt who really listened when I needed help, and I really needed help now.
Danny came over after school with my homework.
“Did Mr. Rabinowitz say anything to you about the writing club?” I asked.
“No. And Kalman wasn’t in school. I guess he’s still suspended.”
“That didn’t stop him from bullying me.”
“My father said I have to stand up to him, but I don’t want to get punched again. I wish he would move back to where he came from.” I was davening for that and for an idea for the writing club.
“Danny, I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for the writing club. Maybe I could do something about the colonial times?”
“Maybe, but that’s what we do in social studies.”
“Yeah, it’s not a good idea.” Danny’s dark eyes were filled with sympathy.
“I hope you feel better, and I hope you get your idea.”
The next morning, I felt better; but Ima said I had to stay home a day after fever. Baruch Hashem, Aunt Shani and her chasan were still going to come, and I had more time to come up with an idea. Efraim, the chasan, was staying next door, and Shani would stay in the guest room upstairs, since the Arons were still in our guest room in the basement.
Mickey came up to my room. He was dragging a blanky and clutching a drawing in the other hand. He presented the drawing to me. It looked like a face with arms and legs. “That’s you being sick,” he said. “I made you a get-well card.”
“Thanks, Mickey. It made me feel better already.”
We worked on one of my model airplanes together, and then it was almost time for Shabbos. Ima didn’t want me to help in the kitchen because of germs, but she said I should straighten my room.
I heard the doorbell and then I heard Aunt Shani and Ima. “Shani, I’m so glad you’re here. How was the flight?”
“We’re all excited about meeting Efraim.”
They headed into the kitchen. Mrs. Aron came upstairs and told Mickey he had to come downstairs and take a shower before Shabbos.
I put on my suit. I wanted to go to shul, but I would see if Aba would let me.
I headed downstairs and into the kitchen.
“Ezra! Are you feeling better?” Aunt Shani smiled at me.
“Can I go to shul, Ima?”
Ima felt my forehead. “Yes, I think you’re all better.”
Efraim appeared. He was tall and thin with a brown hair, a reddish beard, and a quiet voice. He strolled with us to shul. He told Aba about his yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael. He was from Arizona. I wanted to know what it was like there.
“We have lots of cactus plants. I’ll show you a picture of them. We don’t have much grass. It’s like a desert climate.”
“Does your family have a pool?”
“Yes, most people do. It gets to be like 120 degrees in the summer.”
After dinner, Shani was sitting with me on the couch. “I want to know how school is going. Your mother said there was a problem with someone?”
Aunt Shani was interested in problems because she was a social worker.
“There is this new kid. He’s been bullying me.”
“That’s terrible. Tell me what happened. I want to know, because this is the kind of thing I help kids with.”
I told her what happened, and then I told her about the fight and how my father said I had to stand up to a bully.
“Your father is right, Ezra, but in this case it sounds like this bully is violent. When someone acts like a bully, teachers and principals need to be alerted.”
“But I don’t want to be a tattle-taler.”
“No, you’re not being one. Especially in a situation like this where the bully is violent. This boy must have a difficult home situation, or something is very wrong. He needs help, and the only way he will get it is if you report what he’s doing.”
“You mean I’m helping him if I tell on him?”
“Yes, you can tell him you’re not afraid of him, but you also need to tell the principal, the rebbe, and your parents what he’s doing.”
“Okay, thanks, Aunt Shani. I feel better about it now. I’ll go to Rabbi Kleiner as soon as I go back to school, and I’ll tell him about what Kalman did in the park.”
I thought a minute, and then I decided I could tell her my other problem. After all, she is a social worker. “I have to come up with a project to research for the writing club. I just can’t decide on something I am really interested in.”
“Hmm. That’s a hard thing. I have confidence you will think of it. Ask Hashem for help.”
On Motza’ei Shabbos, Mickey came upstairs. “Ima said I could come listen to your story before bed. I told her about your long-ago book.”
I pulled out the journal. “I love the part where he was flying,” Mickey said. He spread his arms out and made a flying motion.
I opened the journal and began to read to him.
To be continued…
By Susie Garber