Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Women and Shoes and Blessings Part II

An hour after I posted the last entry, I left my office, walked twelve paces into my house and heard the dangerous sound of someone reciting the numbers to my credit card. I knocked on the door to Chloe's room and entered. There, Offspring Number Three was pacing the floor with portable phone in one hand and credit card in the other. "What're you doing?" I asked, as if I didn't know. "Ordering," she responded, "Size six... yes... in gold..." she said into the receiver. "Ordering what?" I asked. Chloe kicked up her heel, a Jewish Ginger Rogers, displaying sandals that glittered in the late afternoon sun: "Ordering these, Daddy. Aren't they cool?" "Cool beyond words. But you have them already, " I protested lamely. Chloe looked at me as if looking at a slow child, tolerantly but with affection. "These are Lila's, Daddy, can't you tell?" "Uh, no." "So I need my own pair." "Can't you just borrow?" I asked weakly. "Daddy, that's soooooo gross, eeuuuu!" Offspring Number Two, Lila, stepped into the room and began to braid Chloe's hair. I stood there and watched them for a long moment. They reminded me of happy little gorillas grooming each other with ferocious attention to detail. I watched them and I smiled happily. "Daddy, are you laughing at us?" said Lila. "No, no, I'm just glad Chloe ordered the shoes." "You are!?" They looked at me suspiciously. "Yes, absolutely. A woman can't have too many shoes, right?" They exchanged baffled glances. "Right, sure," they assented. I closed the door, went into Ariel's room and sat at his desk. I looked at one of his Torah notebooks, opened it to an intricate discussion of the laws redeeming the victim of a kidnapping. I read Ariel's notes, but soon enough I was lost. The arguments across the centuries by the various sages were far too complicated for me. I touched the notebook. I looked at Ariel's beautiful handwriting. He only used fine fountain pens. I listened to the girls giggling in the other room and soon thick tears were cutting channels down my face. I cried in Ariel's room because I so badly wanted to tell him about the girls. I wanted to celebrate their beauty with him, I wanted to share their moments of glorious frivolity with Ariel. But I couldn't. And I have to get used to it. For if I don't I will become bitter and angry. No, I must sculpt a new housing for my joy.


Blogger Rochelly's Kitchen said...

Like I mentioned earlier today, I have become an addict to your blog. Every time I read something new, it reminds me of something of Rochelly. Shoes was one example.
I heard countless stories of people dreaming about their loved ones who are not here any longer. For years I tortured myself with the thought that I did not have the privilege of dreaming about my daughter. I had a million explanations, all of them having to do with the fact that I did not deserve to have her back under any circumstances. Another reason, I told myself, was that she was angry at me for something I did or did not do.
Finally, a few years ago, I dreamt of the closet in camp Hedvah where she went for about nine years, first as a camper, always winning prizes, and then as staff, much beloved by the parents, the administration and especially her campers who adored her. In my dream, I clearly saw her bunk's closet, when she was about 8 years old (since she had an older sister in camp, she wanted to go at a very early age). Lined up at the bottom of the closed must have been over 100 pairs of little shoes in every shape and form. White ones for Shabbos, black ones for rain, sandals, slippers, sneakers, pool slippers, boots, etc. If you multiplied each girl having about 10 pairs of shoes by 12 (the number of girls in her bunk), there must have been about 120 pairs of shoes. There, amongst all those shoes, I clearly saw a beautiful pair of white Shabbos shoes that belonged to Rochelly. I started crying and I woke up with a jolt. I remembered that someone had told us about a state inspector who went around all the camps to see if they complied with the standards of health. In every non-Jewish or non-frum camp, each child had one pair of sneakers and one pair of slippers. He came to a girls' religious camp and he saw hundreds of shoes in each bunk. He thought it was pretty funny.
Tell your daughter to enjoy her new shoes and she should continue spending your money, and in the future, her husband's money till 120.

July 12, 2004 at 2:01 PM  

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