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Entry 24 Shabbat Shalom

"Oisin!" Aunt Aliza called to me from the shop. She sat with a lady trying to clean up the filthy graphic that was going to be made in to a lawn sign some time this evening. "Oisin, I need you to run an errand for me."

"Where?" I asked.

"South End Mall Security Office. I'd like for you to deliver a message. Do you think you can do that?" Aunt Aliza had a sweet way of ordering me around.

"Can I come too?" asked Stasch.

"Yes," answered Aunt Aliza, so we were back on our bikes again heading toward the highway. I really wasn't in a mood to study, so riding my bike felt good. Stasch never gets tired and is very focused when he is on his meds. That is a good thing.

We didn't say much. I had the envelope with the message in my pocket. I knew for whom Aunt Aliza wrote it. It was for Naphtali Aviv. She had written it on the envelope in her big blocky priting which I kind of liked. When I was in middle school it embarassed me. Now I just know it looks like Aunt Aliza in a way. She's never going to be skinny or young again and may never have a kid of her own, but she cooks good food and understands about my getting an education and Stasch staying on his meds and she knows we like to ride bikes and is not afraid to let us do it. I guess all of that is important. No, I know all of that is important.

Stasch and I crossed the highway and entered the mall parking lot. If Rabbi Aviv was workind security, I knew we did not have to be afraid of any of one kicking us out for riding and minding our own business. We stopped by the Dillards' entrance and locked our bikes to a stop sign. I told Stasch someone could steal his bike for parts. Besides, locking up bikes is a good habit.

We got inside the mall. It felt cold from all the air conditioning which was turned up way too high. The security office was behind the food court. I had gotten hauled in there one time when an irate guard phoned Aunt Aliza who gave him a piece of her mind.

Today, Moe Grimsley, the Head of Security was on duty. His real name is Moses I think but nobody calls him that. He is Atalaya's dad, but he is built like a tank with very dark skin. Atalaya's real mom must have light skin. I know I'm not supposed to think about things like that, but I'd think about it if Atalaya were white and had black hair and her dad had blond hair so I guess it's all right.

I said good afternoon to Mr. Grimsley and introduced Stasch. "You go to school with Atalaya don't you?" he asked. Apparently she's been talking about me. I hoped she had said only good things. I felt my face start to flush. Sometimes adults can be very embarassing when they don't mean to be that way. I said "yes," and hoped the conversation would move somewhere else.

"She says you share her table in economics and that you're great in geometry," Moe smiled and took the message from me. He put it on a shelf and said Naphtali which was what he called Rabbi Aviv would get it when he came inside.

That was it. It was time to ride back to the house and the store. Soon we would eat but I'd study first. Stasch would either play with his Legos or read. Today he read with a paper in his mouth to keep his lips from moving. I guess he really liked reading silently.

About seven o'clock Aunt Alize came upstairs. She said she was going to put the quiches in the oven to rewarm and get out the salad and dress it. She asked us to wash our hands. She checked to see if our shirts were clean and she sniffed me. Now that was really embarassing. I had to change mine too. I think she would have made me take a shower if she wasn't worried about us running out of hot water.

Then Aunt Aliza went back down to the shop and asked me to watch the timer on the oven and set the table, and yes, I had to set an extra place. Now I knew why she was making all the fuss.

At 8:15pm, the rabbi showed up. He wheeled his bike in to the alley and locked it to the bottom of the stairs. Then he climbed the stairs to our apartment. He still had his security guard unimform on along with the strings from his underwear sticking out. Why didn't Moe do something about that?

I watched him carefully wash his hands before dinner. For some reason it made me think of the sink in metal shop. Dad came up from the shop and we sat down to eat. Rabbi Aviv made a short before meals grace in Hebrew. He explained what it meant and I repeated it and tried to memorize it. I like foreign languages. I wondered if Hebrew was that different from French.

Rabbi Aviv said he loved quiche and I don't think he was pouring it on. He took a big slicke of spinach quiche and a big helping of salad. Aunt Aliza gave Stasch an American cheese sandwich and asked him to take some salad.

"My son is a wizz at fixing bikes," explained dad as we ate. "After supper he can look at your bike and give it a tune up if it doesn't need any parts."

Rabbi Aviv shook his head. "It's Shabbos," he answered.

"Yes, but we're not that observant," answered dad.

"I am," answered Rabbi Aviv. "I'd prefer your son not work for me on Shabbos. Can I bring the bike by on Sunday?"

"That's up to Oisin," dad said.

I said "yes."

After we ate we said the long grace with the part about the hungry young lions at the end. I was the only one who read along in English. "Where'd you learn all this?" I asked Rabbi Aviv.

"I went to synagogue when I was younger and Hebrew school and participated in Hilel in college and then went to rabbinical seminary. I knew I wanted to be a rabbi since I was in high school."

"So rabbis are educated people," I thought.

"Do you help nonJews?" I asked.

"What kind of a question is that?" Rabbi Aviv answered.

"There's a Christian girl in one of the hollows who doesn't like her pastor. She thinks he's dumb. She has a grandmother who's dying."

"You want me to talk to her."

"She wants someone who can pray pretty psalms to uplift her. That's important to her."

"Who is she?"

"Koli Jameson," I answered, and I realized I did not know Koli's address. I said I would get it, so that was as far as it got. I was sorry to see Rabbi Aviv go. I hope his bike is not in too bad a shape because he has to ride it to work.

"Are you going to fix the seat on the Rabbi's bike?" Stasch asked as we helped Aunt Aliza clean up from dinner.

"If he wants and if I can," I answered.

"I bet the rabbi's balls really hurt," Stasch said. He wasn't really cursing so I knew Aunt Aliza wouldn't yell at him.

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