Recap: Libby speaks with Marnie and Sabrina’s mom about the New York trip. Libby is still nervous about flying. Libby missed a call from Ruth Tilney from Israel. Libby wonders why Mrs. Tilney is calling when she isn’t even working for the flight school anymore.
Three days later, Grandma was doing well. Early the next morning, at seven a.m., I drove her to the doctor for a check-up. “Sorry for making the appointment so early,” Grandma said.
“I don’t mind. I’m a morning person.”
He’s going to remove the bandage. Please say a prayer that I will be able to see better,” She said.
“Of course. I’ve been davening for you.”
I waited in the same waiting room. I was the only one there. I said some T’hilim, and a few minutes later she came out of the office, beaming. “Libby, your prayers worked. I can see so much better.”
“Baruch Hashem!” I exclaimed.
“I have to start packing today,” I said. “My flight leaves early tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, I’ll be heading back tomorrow, too.”
I felt a jump of excitement, thinking of seeing Avi and the girls, but there was that knot in my stomach when I thought about flying. I still wasn’t over the hump, and I remembered what Dr. Sommers had said. Now was my chance to ask Grandma to tell me what happened when I was younger. There was some key thing that I needed to know, he thought.
I decided I would bring it up at lunchtime. Thinking of lunch gave me that queasy feeling again.
“Grandma, I’m worried I have some sort of stomach virus.”
“What are your symptoms?”
“So, not all the time, but sometimes I get this wave of dizziness and I feel a bit queasy.”
“Did you eat something bad?”
“No, and it’s been going on the past week.”
Grandma smiled at me. “Maybe you’re expecting.”
“That could be morning sickness.”
I hadn’t thought of that. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. There had been so many years of disappointment. Still, it could be…
I drove to the pharmacy to pick up Grandma’s eye drops, and she said she’d wait in the car. I parked and strode inside. I was waiting in the prescription aisle. As I strode towards the door with the prescription, I passed an aisle stocked with test kits. Should I buy one? Should I see if I was expecting?”
The queasiness hit me again and I wished I could sit down. I grabbed the kit and paid for it and rushed out of the pharmacy. The whole way home I felt sick and nervous, too. Could it be?
Was Hashem answering our heartfelt prayers now?
Grandma went to lie down, and I said a lot of T’hilim, took a drink, and ate a cracker.
Then, minutes later, I was astounded and profoundly grateful.
“Avi,” I wanted to shout. “We are going to be parents!”
I tried calling him and then I thought, No, I will tell him when I get there. This is something I want to share in person.
As I was pulling up to our house, the radio announcer interrupted the weather report: “Breaking News. There has been what appears to be a plane accident. A Boeing 767 jet, loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m., just 15 minutes ago.”
Grandma and I looked at one another.
“How terrible!” Grandma exclaimed.
The announcer said, “It appears to be a terrible accident. We have live coverage. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper.”
“Baruch Dayan HaEmes!”
“It is not clear what happened.”
The announcer’s voice broke with sobs. “There was another plane. Another Boeing 767 – United Airlines Flight 175 – just turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and rammed into the South Tower near the 60th floor. The area is filled with falling, burning debris.”
The announcer was openly sobbing. I wanted to turn off the radio, but I couldn’t stop listening. Suddenly, a terrifying thought hit me. “Grandma, Avi and the girls were going to the World Trade Center this morning.”
“Call him,” she said.
I pushed his number on my cell phone. The call didn’t go through.
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).