Recap: A flight instructor calls Libby and expresses her frustration with the two difficult students who refuse to be bothered learning how to land or take off.
School ended and I enrolled the girls in day camp. Sabrina loved camp and Marnie said she liked it, so I was happy that they were happy.
We still hadn’t reconciled with my in-laws. Every once in a while, Avi would mention it.
“I don’t understand how they can still be angry.”
“Oh, Avi, it takes time. The Rosh Yeshivah said to have patience.
“Elul is around the corner. I don’t want these strained relations during Elul. I want a good relationship with them again.”
“Me, too.” I didn’t’ know what else to say or do. I’d tried calling my mother-in-law a few times, but her cold, stilted conversation was too painful to make we want to try again. I kept davening that this would pass, and they would overcome their disappointment and anger and start to appreciate the wonderful thing Avi was doing. Learning Torah is what keeps the world going. If only they understood that. I kept davening and saying T’hilim, asking Hashem to help them understand.
I was working on my flying fear intensely. I had only two months until I was going to have to board a plane. I listened to the tape, but it wasn’t really helping. One day I thought of something that might help me.
“Avi, what if I speak with Dr. Sommers. He’s for sure good. Look how he helped Marnie. Maybe he can help me overcome my fear.”
“That’s a great idea. Go for it.”
The first time I went, I felt awkward.
Dr. Sommers tried to put me at ease. “Coming to see me doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, Mrs. Perlman. It means you are trying to work on an issue and that takes courage.”
“So, tell me about this fear of flying.”
After the fourth session, Dr. Sommers and I both realized that I needed to find out what happened when I was little.
“Avi, he told me that this is the key: that once I know that, it will help me to start healing. He can only take me so far.”
“You told him your grandmother won’t tell you.”
“He said I should ask Hashem to help me open her up.”
“Avi, I think I want to try doing the other thing Rabbi Saleman suggested. Would it be okay with you if I daven in shul in the morning?”
“Of course. I daven neitz anyway, so I’ll come back home to be with the girls while you’re in shul.”
The next morning, when Avi came back from the neitz minyan, I headed out the door. “Thanks so much. Camp starts late so you don’t have to worry about getting them ready. I’ll be, im yirtzeh Hashem, back home in plenty of time.”
“Daven well,” Avi said.
The early morning sunlight sparkled on dewy grass on the lawns of homes near the shul. Palm trees did their dance, swaying to their own melody. I once asked Avi why the leaves on palm trees are in constant motion. He said he had no idea, but it was true.
When I reached the yeshivah, I walked to the right side of the building and opened the entrance to the women’s section. I climbed the stairs. The door was open. I wondered if Avi had opened it for me. What a relief not to have to ask someone to open it. From the balcony, I had a full view of the beis midrash.
There was one man wrapped in a talis, talking to Hashem. It felt so peaceful here. I started my morning brachos. And I started talking to my Tatty. “Please, Hashem, bring us the brachah we have been davening for. And please help Marnie and Sabrina to adjust to going back home. Please grant us a safe, happy trip to New York. Please heal Grandma Bea’s eyes. Please help Avi’s parents to reconcile and not be angry with us anymore. Please, please. I thought of one more thing I wanted to ask. Hashem, please help me get over my fear of flying.
“How was it being in shul on a weekday?” Avi asked.
“It was wonderful,” I said.
The summer glided by like a beautiful melody that you wish would go on and on but it eventually ends. It was almost time for our trip to New York. Grandma Bea called. “I’ll be arriving on September 7. Can you pick me up in Fort Lauderdale.”
The girls were excited that Grandma Bea was coming, and Sabrina was dancing around the apartment, singing about our trip to New York.
Grandma arrived and the girls clustered around her. “You have your Candyland partner here,” I said.
Sabrina kept hugging her and Grandma Bea hugged her back.
The phone rang. I answered it.
“It’s Sarah Lerner. I’d like to wish the girls a good trip.”
“Oh, yes, I’ll put them on.”
Hearing her voice reminded me of what was coming soon. Soon they would be going back home to their mother and father.
I watched the joy on Sabrina’s face as she spoke to her mother, and then I was thankful to see Marnie happily speak to her mother, too. This, of course, was the best thing for the girls. I was happy for them. I wanted them to feel close to their parents.
Still, a little voice inside was asking, Would they still want to be connected to us? Would I still be their Tante?
To Be continued…
Susie Garber is the author of the newly released historical fiction novel, Flight of the Doves (Menucha Publishers, 2023), Please Be Polite (Menucha Publishers, 2022), A Bridge in Time (Menucha Publishers, 2021), 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 Binah Magazine and Binyan Magazine, and “Moon Song” in Binyan (2021-2022).