chapter two: the entrance

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I realize it’s been a while since the first chapter, but that doesn’t mean I’m not committed to this thing. Shidduch-lit shall be told.

Shmiel stepped up to the doors, which, like the rest of the front facade, yelled “expensive.” It was like a blacksmith and carpenter were given unlimited funds for a project — then fought the entire way through. Through these doors, it was clear, you were entering the domain of the back-est Back Lawrence.

He had a brief moment of uncertainty: ring the doorbell and risk disturbing — the chimes were likely Church bell-esque in their volume and irritation — or knock, and risk being unheard, or, worse, being barely heard and come across as meek (and probably bloodying his knuckles in the process).  But before he could ring (softly?) or knock (loudly), the double doors swung open, grandly.

Shmiel, at first, had no idea who or what opened the doors, so distracted was he by the immensity of the headpiece. He paused, and squinted, confused by the mass of curls greeting him — and realized, after a moment, that it was a sheitel. But it was more than a simple wig. Shmiel was certain that this woman — she must be the girl’s mother — needed a fair bit of bodily assistance to put this thing on. No simple slipping on a scalp here. It was momentous — curls, rising a good foot above her head and dropping to the small of her back, were petrified in a natural, flowy-looking position. It must have taken an entire village of selfless Indian avodah zara-niks to produce this sheitel. Shmiel was in equal parts cowed, impressed, and nervous.

The sheitel spoke, at a pace that suggested either profound excitement, or uppers. “Well hello you look like  a Shmiel all over like a Shmiel it’s a nice name your mother has nice taste your mother what’s her name it’s not Leah right because you know the halacha and oh I can’t believe I didn’t ask but what are the odds and I’m sure it will be fine totally and wouldn’t that be just terrible to end such a good match because of the name maybe we could change it I mean change your mother’s name of course because my Leah is named after my mother who was also a Leah and good.”

Shmiel’s mother’s name, as it turns out, was not Leah, but he never really had a chance to convey the good news. He just followed the sheitel as she spoke and walked into the house. She gestured with her entire body — like a pantomime of a swim stroke, almost — to the couch, indicating that Shmiel should sit. But the couch was seriously intimidating — it was as if Hungarian royalty had renovated the living room. The couch was gold; the legs and hands a solid metal; the cushions a golden velvet. Shmiel swallowed hard, and sat, while the sheitel left, presumably to fetch the husband. Shmiel could actually see him in his study — it was very conspicuously in his sight-line — and his desk was absolutely littered with open seforim, but the husband didn’t look at any of them; he just rubbed his chin and sucked on his glasses earpiece in a spot-on caricature of a man lost in deep thought. Even Shmiel could tell that the husband was very deliberately pretending not to have noticed him (i.e., Shmiel); he was much too busy affecting studiousness. But the sheitel rapped on the den’s door, and beckoned, and together, they walked back to the living room.

Written by menachemkaiser

6 November at 18:07

Posted in Uncategorized

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