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Entry 11 -- "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"

"What is that?" asks Orel. It is mid day on Friday and he eats the last of the bean salad for his lunch which means if I were hungry, I'd have a sandwich. I subsist on tea. With all I cook, I'd be fat as a house if I ate like my boyfriend.

"It's a spice cake," I reply. "I baked it after you went to bed."

"Why?"

"We are going to the Goldfarb's tonight, remember."

"How can I forget?" Orel sighed.

"Do you ever sleep?" he aks sme.

"When I'm dead," I respond.

"No wonder..." and he bites his tongue because I'd slap his silly face. Poor boyfriend, but my apparent lack of fertility and no time to go for tests and not wanting to make myself a medical guinea pig and the doctors rich is a sore spot with me. We have Orel's boys and that is enough.

"I'll need a break to ice the cake," I tell Orel.

"We have runs coming out our asses righ tnow," he answers.

"There's always after services."

"How long does it take to ice a..."

"Spice cake," I remind him.

"Half an hour. We're eating after services. I'm inviting the rabbi here. That means we can go straight through or I can until eight o'clock. That will put a dent in the runs. At least we don't have Friday and Saturday services."

Orel groans. Then he looks at me. "Do you want to have Stasch bar mitzvahed."

"If he's interested, we'll see..." I reply.

Orel shakes his head. The afternoon goes fast at the shop. Oisin goes upstairs to study and then later for a bike ride wtih Stasch. I'm glad to see the boys outside because I am chained in the shop. We do make a dent in the runs though, leaving only three for the late night shift.

I return to the kitchen and grab one more glass of ice tea. The boys are in the shower which means my shower is nearly cold. Blech... We need a bigger tank for hot water or maybe one of those new tankless water heaters.

I change in to good clothes and check the boys (including Orel!) for clean shirts and nonstinkiness. They smell good. They look clean. There hair is all wet from just washing it. I carry the iced spice cake down to the truck and we're off to the Goldfarbs.

I don't expect much from services, so I am pleasantly surprised. There are four families in our tiny community. One is a pair of doctors. Another is an architect and his wife and a four year old girl. The third is the Goldfarbs. We are the fourth. Ruth thanks me for the cake. "Where are we going to put all this food?" she sighs. I feel like telling her that you have to have cake at an affair like this.

The service is mostly in English and we take turns reading responsively or just reading. It has a lot of poetry. It takes an hour and fifteen minutes. It goes fast for all its lenght. We have coffee and cake afterwards and the kdis get bottled water. Oisin drinks nothing. I guess Ms. Goldfarb doesn't serve iced tea or even soda most of the time.

I invite Rabbi Abib to our house. "What are you having for supper?" he asks.

"Tomato quiche and green pea salad," I reply.

He licks his lips. Stasch laughs. Ruth Goldfarb looks sad, but she can host the rabbi next week. We talk mostly about SouthEnd mall at dinner which is fine with me. Rabbi Abib talks about the way most seurity guards do not give teenagers the benefit of the doubt. Most teenagers just shop and mind their own business. Kids from the country frequently have parents who work during the day and send their kids on errands after school since the kids are all ready in town to go to high school and middle school.

"To some extent we have to be welcoming or families will not shop there," explained Rabbi Abib. Orel threw me a dirty look.

"You're right, but you might want to find another employer if you feel that way," my boyfriend told him.

I winced. We do not have enough revenue to hire any help in the shop. I tried to figure who would need a nice customer friendly person. I suggested the department stores and clothing stores. Of course not a lot of places will hire a man with a beard and yarmulke. It's not prejudice exactly. It just helps if you look like everyone else. I can't say any of that.

I feel sad when the rabbi walks home. Ruth Goldfarb gave us back the uneaten spice cake and Stasch, Oisin, and Orel each have another piece. Boys have huge appetites. When Oisin goes in to read and Stasch goes to bed, I go down to the shop and put the lst three runs to bed.

Then I tiptoe upstairs. Orel is up and waiting for me. He sits at the kitchen table drinking a last glass of ice tea. I clean the pitcher and put on more water. Neither ous us wants to ask what we are getting into with the rabbi.

"You know it won't feel good if the whole country club crowd starts showing up for services," comments my boyfriend.

"There's no country club here, not a Jewish one anyway," I say. It feels strange to think of myself as Jewish but Greenup is not Duluth or Beverly Hills or Scarsdale. Maybe here Jews who work for a living will be part of the group and not the bottom either. Orel holds my arm. "Have you given up on a baby yet?" he asks.

"For my sanity, yes," I answer. "I can't go on wanting like I did when we first stopped using stuff."

"Stuff," snorts Orel. "What's with the stuff?"

"Bikes, kites, and all good stuff..." I sing song.

He laughs. "You really don't want to try any more?" he asks again getting serious.

"I don't want to think about it, understand? Seriously, it hurts too much but what can we do?"

"Doctors."

"No...we'll just throw our money in the street. We have your boys. I have you. I think this is God's way of saying, I don't need anything else."

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