Notes: This is a work of fiction, based on a story someone told me. It is not about me. It is also embellished by details I made up and added. I don’t know the girl who told me this story very well, and the character of this fictional story is not her. I made up the character and her personality. The basic skeleton of the story is true, but the details are fabricated.
Weighed down by groceries, I veer off 13th avenue, away from the bustling crowds, and head down 49th street. I barely notice my surroundings, my mind on timetables and recipes as I plan the salads and side dishes for this shabbos.
I love puttering in the kitchen on Friday afternoon, cooking the side dishes and prepping the vegetables after my mother’s frenzy of Thursday-night and Friday-morning cooking is done. With the aromas of the gefilte fish cooling on the rack, of the chicken soup and roast waiting for the blech, with the sound of my mother humming to herself as she sets out the silverware in the dining room and my father leining the parsha in preparation for shabbos morning – it’s a wonderful atmosphere.
It makes me dream romantic dreams of my own home. I’m 24, and shidduchim aren’t always easy. But I hold onto my dreams.
Lost in my thoughts, walking down the side streets on autopilot, it takes a moment or two for me to realize that the heimishe man walking towards me is talking to me. I look up and focus on him, on the tzitzis swinging from his belt, on his black velvet yarmulka, and listen to his question.
“Where are the clubs? Where could I find a club?”
My head tilts as if on its own. “I don’t know! Look, I’m a frum girl. That’s obvious, isn’t it? What makes you think I know where the clubs are?”
“Are you married?” I ask him.
“Yeah,” he says. “Can I have your number?”
I gape. “I don’t know how my number can help you,” I say acidly. “I’m not a marriage counselor.”
“Please,” he begs, “come on, just give me your number.”
“Look, why don’t you figure out where the clubs are, and ask your wife to go clubbing with you?”
“Eh,” he waves a hand. “She doesn’t want to go to the clubs.”
“Well, maybe you could put on music at home and dance with your wife. Like, when she’s not a niddah, right? And maybe even put on whatever music you like, even if it’s not Jewish.”
“Come on,” he pleads, “just give me your number.”
I grip my shopping bags, full of food for my shabbos table, full of dreams for my bayis ne’eman, and I walk off, leaving him standing there behind me.