Mrs. Barkoff confronts Yedidye very strongly, and refuses to give her blessing to the young couple. Yedidye suggests meeting with a male relative whom Mrs. Barkoff trusts, and this gives Suri an idea.
* * *
After saying good night to Yedidye, Suri checked her watch to make sure it was not too late, and then she placed two important phone calls. Extremely pleased with the results of her efforts, she went in to check on her mother.
“Feeling better, Ma?” she asked.
“A little. I don’t know what happened.”
“It’s fine. Hey, Mom, you know, I was thinking, maybe we should all go visit Mima Leah and Fetter Chezkel.”
“Who’s all?” said Mrs. Barkoff.
“You, me, and Yedidye. I think you’ll feel a lot better if someone else meets him, so you could have someone to talk it over with.”
“And what about Rena? We should just leave her behind?”
“No! Chas v’shalom. She can definitely come. I just thought it would be awkward for her.”
“Well, no matter how awkward it is, I’m not leaving her here alone. It’s either all of us or none of us.” Mrs. Barkoff could hear the petulant tone in her voice, but she felt powerless to stop it.
“Fine. That’s fine. Is it all right with you if I make the arrangements?” asked Suri.
“Yes, it’s fine.” She sat up and eyed her daughter thoughtfully. “It’s a good idea, Suri. Thank you.”
Suri smiled and hurried out of the room after kissing her mother warmly on the forehead and covering her up with a blanket. She knew that her time here in Eretz Yisrael was running out; in fact, it had already run out. She was going to have to go back home the day after tomorrow no matter how things turned out, and she hoped she would be able to return with hope in her heart. It was a funny feeling to turn to her previously-unknown Mima Leah and Fetter Chezkel, but they were all she had.
The following morning the three women were awoken by a persistent pounding on the front door of their apartment.
“Hallo!” A voice called from the hallway. “Hallo! Anyone b’bayit?
Rena hurried to the door and without stopping to check through the peephole she flung it open, if only to stop the knocking.
A youthful-looking man, somewhere in his thirties, with dark curls, a black yarmulke and a denim jacket was tenaciously continuing his knocking as though it was all he had to do in the world.
“Who are you?” said Rena.
“Ani Rafi, the drrhiver,” said the man. “Is this the Baruchov?”
“No,” said Rena. “You have the wrong place.” She moved to close the door on him but he had already placed his foot between the door and the jam.
“If you don’t move your foot, it will hurt quite a bit,” said Rena.
“No, it won’t,” said Rafi. “Is prosthesis.” He lifted up his foot so he could show her, but she stopped him before he got very far. “Mrs. Natan call me, she say you need driver today. So, here I am.”
“One second. One second, okay? Move your foot. I want to close the door.”
“Why you not let me in? I am the driver.”
Rena closed the door and turned around, only to find herself staring into Suri’s eyes. “Who was that?” Suri asked.
“Why don’t you tell me? Did you order a driver?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, but he wasn’t supposed to be here until eleven o’clock.”
“Well, it’s eight o’clock now. He’s a little early. Where are you going?”
“We are going to Mima Leah’s.”
“Since when? And who’s we?” asked Rena.
“Since last night. You were out and I wanted to wait up to tell you, but I fell asleep. Didn’t you see my note? Where were you, anyway?”
“It’s none of your business, but I was at the Asoulins, visiting with Maryam. And no, I did not see your note. Who else is going?”
Suri knew what Rena was asking, and she answered bravely. “Me, you, Mommy, and Yedidye.”
Rena bit her lip in silence, thinking it over. “Please, Rena.
Mommy won’t go if you don’t come along. And I need Fetter Chezkel to meet Yedidye.”
“You have some nerve,” asked Rena.
Suri hung her head, but didn’t back down. “Will you come?” she said.
“Do I have a choice?”
Suri was silent.
“All right. But lose the driver, okay? Tell him to come back later. I don’t want to have to rush.”
“Okay, great. I made some coffee.”
Suri opened the door again, but the driver had disappeared. She was just about to close the door and call Mrs. Nathan again when he suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
“Where were you just now?” she asked.
“Lo meshaneh,” he said. “Ani Rafi, the driver. The other lady told you?”
“Yes, she told me you were here, but you’re way too early. We aren’t leaving for another three hours.”
“Ma pitom?” said Rafi. “She told me… oh, right! Slichah, slichah. I always mix up the numbers. Well, now you have no worries about whether I show up. I’m here!”
Suri was nonplused. “Well, you can’t stay here! We aren’t ready.”
“Oh. So what time I come?” he asked.
“Eleven. Ee-le-ven.” She thought for a moment, remembering when Shimmy was learning to count in Hebrew. “Achat esrei, okay? Come back Achat esrei.”
“No problem. I understand English very, very well. You can speak in all the English you want. I was living in America!”
“Really, how nice. Why don’t we talk about it later?” said Suri.
“At ee-lev-en?” said Rafi, mocking her.
“Yes. Eleven. Good-bye.” She moved to close the door, but he stuck his foot in it again.
“See you later, Mrs. Baruchov. Thank you.”
“I am not Mrs. Baruchov. I am Mrs. Weinbach. And yes, see you later. Good-bye.”
To be continued …