Fracture – short story
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 10:42 am
I wrote this for a magazine that didn't wind up taking it, and I thought I might as well share it here before Shavuos for anyone who'd like to read.

The tableau, as it were: Twelve adults around the table, children interspersed between them, happily devouring cheesecake. Riva watches them with quiet pride, with the fulfillment that comes from knowing that she’s made it this far.

She’d raised six boys, a not-inconsiderable feat, and married them all off, right up until her youngest’s chasunah six months ago. Five of them have already gifted her with grandchildren, and she knows that more are to come. Thirty-five years of steadfast motherhood, and here she is, Shavuos night, at the peak of her moment.

Oh, it isn’t as easy to be a grandmother as she’d imagined. The einiklach are perfect, of course, and she loves them in the free, permissive way that comes with spoiling children that she can hand back at the end of the day. And the boys haven’t gone too far– Lakewood and Monsey and Long Island, never too distant from her Kensington home. She just hadn’t anticipated exactly what it means to have raised six boys, married to six girls, the first five with mothers of their own.

She has given up on Pesach, on Succos, on the battle to keep as much of her family as possible around for Yom Tov. The girls are more comfortable with their parents, with their childhood homes, and they smilingly suggest alternatives. Oh, we’ll come for Shabbos Chol Hamoed. How about Shabbos Shuva? Why don’t you come to us? If she can get one or two of the families for a Yom Tov, she considers it a win.

She has always quietly resented it, this inclination toward the girls’ families. Has she not raised six young men into impressive adults, excellent fathers and husbands? Does she not get to reap the rewards of the work she’s put in? But she puts on a smile over her grimace and the boys and their wives pretend that they don’t notice her dissatisfaction as they float away to the lives that so rarely involve her.

Except for Shavuos. Shavuos belongs to them. Shavuos belongs to her. It’s thanks to Yanky, of course, who has been learning with the boys since they turned three, who has made Shavuos learning with Tatty so attractive that here they are, their oldest son turning thirty-six in a few weeks, and they still come to learn every Shavuos.

This year, though, for the first time, they’re short one.

Riva pushes aside that reminder, refuses to dwell on the missing couple at the table. This is her moment, the night that she waits for all year, counting up the days of Sefira with an enthusiasm that might baffle those who don’t know her well. She will not accept it or acknowledge it, because it will not happen again.

They bentch– seven for a mezuman, but in two years they’ll have the coveted ten– and the boys head out with Yanky as the last few children awake scamper off to bed. Shavuos is so late this year. It’s nearly midnight, and Riva has a table full of dishes to clear.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Bubby.” Henny sweeps in past her, a wave of blonde sheitel and smiles, patting Riva on the shoulder in that way that has always felt condescending. “You’ve done so much work already. We’ll take care of the cleanup, won’t we?” She looks to the other girls for acquiescence.

The girls. The wives, the ones who, somehow, with their slew of personalities and cautious smiles, are far more present in Riva’s life now than her sons. Sometimes it feels as though there is no space for the boys, that they fade away into memories when they’re out at shul, and Riva is inhabiting this tense little area with six daughters.

Well. Five this year. No Leora, watching them all with a raised eyebrow as though she can’t imagine how anyone can reasonably be the way that they all are.

She had always wanted daughters– had dreamed of it, had looked forward to her sons bringing in girls for her to mother. She hadn’t anticipated this: tense relationships, each weighed down with baggage, and girls with whom she has never found a common ground.

There is Henny, the oldest of the girls, who vies with Riva for the position of matriarch in characteristic over-helpfulness. She moves around the table now, collecting plates and forks, keeping up a rapid assessment of every bit of the meal they’d already experienced once. “I thought the fish went quickly for a Shavuos meal,” she says. “Are we going to have enough? I can stay up late tonight and fry some more flounder.”

“Not breaded again,” Sara Leah says, wrinkling her pert little nose. “Ariella can’t handle all these heavy foods. You know she has a sensitive stomach.” She picks up a plate and holds it at a distance, as though afraid that someone else’s grease might get near her. Riva had had high hopes for her, the delicate-looking girl with the loud laugh who’d married Riva’s third son.

But she’d been disappointed. Sara Leah has just one child (“By choice,” she always makes a point to say, as though judging Riva for her six boys) and never fails to insinuate all the ways that Riva falls short of her, the pinnacle of motherhood. Even now, she sets the plate down carefully and says, “Is tomorrow night going to go as late as tonight? Ariella needs her sleep, and Yom Tov meals at this time of year aren’t really kid-friendly hours. We’re going to have a lot of cranky cousins in the morning.”

She manages to get through to Chaykie, who looks up sharply from where she’s cradling a toddler on the couch. “I’ll take them outside,” she says, defensive. Chaykie is always defensive, is always on the verge of storming off to her room to complain to her husband about them, and they all give her a wide berth. She’s had nine children in twelve years, more than half of the grandchildren here this week, and Riva knows that Sara Leah had absolutely meant to start up with her. “They’re good kids. They aren’t going to run around screaming in the morning.”

“Any more than usual,” Sara Leah mutters, and Chaykie snatches a plastic cup from the table and slams it down on the kitchen counter a little too hard. At the couch, quiet Aliza winces, turning the pages of her magazine and avoiding them all.

It’s Meira who intervenes. Sweet Meira, wonderful Meira, this girl newly married into the family who might be exactly what they all need to make it through the night. Riva has a favorite, though she’d never tell the boys that. “Chaykie, why don’t we take everyone out first thing in the morning? We can go to the park and watch all the dogs there. I don’t mind keeping an eye on all the cousins.” She looks around at them hopefully, still certain that she can defuse any conflict.

Henny says heartily, “Oh, you’re so sweet, Meira. I’ll come along, too. We’ll need as many adults as possible to manage the little ones. Aliza?”

Aliza looks up from the couch, her eyes guarded. “My boys usually sleep in,” she says finally. “I’ll watch them here.” Aliza’s two boys are as withdrawn as she is, noses in books and restrained around the other cousins.

Sara Leah sighs. “I’d better come, too. You think it’s safe to cross some of these streets with that many kids?” She looks at them all, daring them to say otherwise, and Chaykie worries her lip and looks as though she might be close to breaking point.

Riva intervenes. “It’s a great idea, Meira,” she says, covering up the cheesecake to bring it to the kitchen. She isn’t going to sit on the couch, making awkward conversation with Aliza, while Henny decides to reorganize her kitchen again. “I’d love to come, too. Fraidy and Yitzy made me promise that I’d watch them the next time they go down the slide.

“It was really Chaykie’s idea,” Meira says cheerfully. “Want me to wash the dishes?” She is easy in a way that none of the other girls had been. Riva had been past the delusion that these girls might be daughters someday when Meira had come along, bright and gentle and so much like Riva herself. Meira had lost her mother at nine, poor girl, and it might be a horrible thing, to want to put herself in that place for Meira, but isn’t it worse not to be that person for her?

She is warm where none of the other girls are, and she is the daughter that Riva has always wanted. They’ve gone out to brunch on their own and Meira and her husband come often for Shabbos, filling up a house that is unnaturally quiet all week.

Sara Leah nibbles at the cheesecake she’d left on her plate after dessert, pursing her lips. “You really love that caramel flavoring, huh?” she says. It all comes out as a criticism from her lips, and Riva smiles tightly.

“It’s what the recipe called for.”

“Oh, I don’t believe in recipes,” Sara Leah says, shrugging. “After a while, you just kind of get a feel for the ingredients, you know? You’ll see when you try my broccoli at tomorrow’s meal. Tomorrow afternoon, right?” she asks, her eyes suddenly sharp. “It has to be served hot, and the night meals are…well, kind of lukewarm. Maybe if the kugels weren’t so dense–”

“They all got finished,” Henny says hastily, casting an eye at Chaykie’s gritted teeth. “My kids love Chaykie’s kugels, cold or hot. I can wash the dishes,” she says, eyeing Riva and Meira disapprovingly. “I’ll take care of it in the morning. You should all go to sleep.”

Sara Leah laughs. “Absolutely not. By morning, the kids will be up and the dishes will be on the floor. Better to do it tonight. Why don’t you go to sleep, Henny?” she says, her voice syrupy-sweet. “You work so hard here in your house to entertain us–”

“Sara Leah,” Riva intervenes. It’s strange, this mother-voice that she’s developed. It’s unlike the sharp voice she’d had with her boys– do not slide down that banister, do not drink that concoction, do not throw that book at your brother– and is instead firm and a little scolding. Do not hurt her feelings. Do not say what we’re all thinking.

She’d never meant to resent her daughters-in-law. Her grandchildren are wonderful, so the girls must be doing something right. And she had so craved having other women in her house, sharing her space, that it had been such a shock to her system to be reminded of why she’d fought endlessly with her own sisters. There is something in the air when they are all together. Something that makes Henny overly supercilious and Chaykie overly sensitive. Something that makes Sara Leah caustic and Aliza withdraw. Something that has made them all so unbearable that pretty, perfect Leora, who has never fit in with their idiosyncrasies, has persuaded her husband not to come this year at all. Only Meira is immune, scraping cheesecake and fruit off dessert plates into the garbage as though there is no tension swimming around her.

Chaykie joins her. Riva takes the dishes they pass to her. Henny stands in the kitchen doorway, looking dissatisfied as she surveys the room, doing absolutely nothing to help. Sara Leah sighs and glowers at them as she covers pans of food and stacks them.

It’s Meira who breaks the terse silence. “Be right back,” she says, setting down the final plate, and she disappears upstairs to the bathroom. Riva is struck by a sudden, wild desire to hiss at the others, to remind them to behave, to be the family that she wants Meira to see. This is the first time it’s been all of them like this since Shabbos Sheva Brachos, when they’d been on their best behavior–

She clears her throat. Henny says immediately, “Bubby, what is it? Can we help with something?”

Sara Leah snorts. “We’re embarrassing her in front of Meira,” she says in a singsong voice. Always so incisive, always so quick to lash out with whatever weapons she’s picked up along the way. “Bubby is worried we’ll scare her off.”

Riva doesn’t rush to deny it. Maybe that’s indication enough for the other girls, because Henny takes a step back and Chaykie looks as though she might cry. Even Aliza, visible through the kitchen hatch, winces to herself and then hurriedly looks back at her magazine.

Riva says tersely, “Are there any more dishes on the table?”

They work in silence for a few minutes. Through the window at the sink, Riva can see the street in front of them. It’s quiet, only a stray car or two driving through this neighborhood after midnight on Shavuos. A raccoon is fidgeting with a neighbor’s garbage can lid, and a few yeshiva bachurim are walking together, making their leisurely way to the beis medrash. The wind is light, the warmth of a late Shavuos palpable even at night, and Riva longs to sit on the lawn chair on the porch as she did when the boys were young, reading newspaper divrei Torah in the light filtering out from the living room and shepping nachas at that horde of little boys and their father.

The tension in the room lingers even after Meira returns. There is a strangeness to her step, a little too hard and loud, and Henny looks up sharply. “Everything okay?”

“It’s fine,” Meira says, her voice tight. “Here. I’ll clean the rest of the dishes.” She takes them from Chaykie, and Riva pauses her washing to watch Meira. She scrapes at the dishes with force, knocking food into the garbage and around it, and Henny silently grabs a napkin and collects the food that is on the floor.

The weight of the air in the room feels unbearable, the heat of the oven and the strained interactions of the girls around Riva enough to make her dizzy. Sara Leah looks as though she might say something, and Riva throws her a look, stern and warning. Sara Leah scoffs and shoves pans back into the fridge.

Chaykie takes a few dishes from Meira’s pile, and Meira says, “I said I’d do it–”

She reaches for the plates– the fish plates, Riva’s special milchig set that she’d gotten from her great-grandmother and uses only for Shavuos– and Chaykie’s hands shake, just a little, enough that the plates come crashing to the ground.

They shatter into pieces, four plates in shards of china across the kitchen floor, and Meira snaps, “Now look what you did!” Chaykie stares at her, at the dishes, and something breaks in the room, the silence replaced with something far angrier. Riva can only stare at her plates, the delicate gold patterning at the edges and the smooth white fragments on the floor, and her stomach drops and leaves her throat clogged with emotion.

“That’s just Chaykie,” Sara Leah drawls. “Chaos everywhere she goes.”

Chaykie whirls around, the broken china forgotten, her knuckles white. “No one asked you,” she says.

“No one ever asks me,” Sara Leah says sourly. “Everyone just avoids you because you’re so sensitive. Poor Chaykie can’t handle it. But you do what you want and Bubby coddles you because she’s so afraid that someone won’t come back.” She scowls at Chaykie. “We’re already one down.”

Henny shushes them, casting a frightened look at Riva. Riva thinks about Leora, about her shattered china, about Meira staring between Sara Leah and Chaykie with her hands trembling on her plate. Riva can’t find the words to speak.

Chaykie scoffs. “Leora isn’t here because she can’t stand you,” she says. “No one can.”

Sara Leah’s eyes flash. “No,” she says. “Leora isn’t here because she can’t stand the mayhem that your fifty thousand kids make. It’s obscene. I’m so sick of it,” she says, wheeling around and looking for an ally. “Meira,” she says, lighting on the other woman. No, Riva thinks, just a girl, gripping the china as though it is her anchor. “Back me up here. I can’t spend another Shavuos with so many kids.”

And something utterly unexpected happens, enough to jerk Riva out of her moment of protracted dismay. It isn’t Chaykie who bursts into tears at Sara Leah’s onslaught. It’s Meira, convulsing in choking sobs, her cheeks wet and her whole body trembling from the force of them. She sets down the china and wraps her arms around herself, water dripping to her chin, to her pretty Shabbos robe, to the floor where the fragments of china are still lying there.

“I’m sorry,” she says, and she is gasping again for breath, the tears still rolling down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry–”

It comes together, piece by piece, when she matches Sara Leah’s comment to Meira’s tears. Six months married. Six months, and no glow on Meira’s cheeks, no sudden joy or secret smiles or even surreptitious nausea. Six months isn’t long. Riva hadn’t pushed or asked, but she had wondered, and she had thought– Meira is still in school. Maybe it was by choice, for some reason.

But it isn’t by choice at all, and here is Meira in the kitchen, sobbing because she can’t see herself with a baby next Shavuos.

They are all frozen, all at a loss at this sudden vulnerability. Riva’s daughters-in-law don’t do vulnerability, not around each other. This house is not a place where everyone is comfortable, where everyone is a team. They are too different, too diametrically opposed, and even Riva herself can’t find the right words, or anything except easy, familiar anger.

“You need to get yourself under control,” she says to Sara Leah, rage simmering like a pot about to boil over. “I am tired of you picking fights with everyone else. Of nothing being good enough. You have been nothing but…” Her voice trails off. Sara Leah is staring at her with a mulish expression, her teeth visibly gritted and her eyes hard. And Riva thinks, is this worth it? Is it worth alienating a daughter-in-law?

It’s Aliza who comes to their rescue, long after they’d all forgotten that she was there. She stands up and walks to Meira, a firm hand on Meira’s back, and she guides her to sit on the couch. She is quiet as she murmurs to Meira, and Meira blinks back tears and says, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to be so… It’s been six months,” she says helplessly.

Chaykie weaves past them, stepping gingerly over the china to join Meira and Aliza on the couch. “Six months isn’t…you’re nineteen,” she murmurs. “You have plenty of time.” Meira only shrugs, unwilling to accept that, and Chaykie lays an arm around Meira’s shoulders, the same way that she does her twin seven-year-olds when they’ve been fighting, and Riva is struck, suddenly, by how excellent a mother Chaykie must be.

They file into the living room, Henny and Riva together and Sara Leah trailing behind them, and Chaykie says ruefully, “I think we put too much pressure on newlyweds to have kids right away.” She shakes her head. “I love every one of mine, of course, and I’d do anything for them…I don’t know. But sometimes, I barely know who I am anymore beyond Mommy. I think I used to have hobbies. Now, my big excitement some days is carpool. It’s overwhelming sometimes,” she admits. “I’d never trade it for anything, but–”

Sara Leah makes a noise, a hint of scorn in that little hmph, and Chaykie’s eyes flash. “I get it,” she retorts. “We all know. You’re perfect, Sara Leah. You’re immune to pressure. You waited just the right number of years to have your perfect little Ariella,” she says mockingly.

“No,” Sara Leah says, and she sits down on the ottoman across from the couch, that hard look still in her eyes. “I went through four rounds of IVF to have Ariella. And that was it for me.”

Riva stares. Turns around and stares at Sara Leah on the ottoman, still glaring out at the world as though it might be cowed by her expression, and says, “You never said–”

“Well, I was embarrassed,” Sara Leah snaps. “It was…the whole process was miserable. Exhausting. Expensive. I didn’t want to get you involved. Or anyone. I don’t need people pitying me.”

“We wouldn’t have pitied you,” Chaykie says quietly, looking at Sara Leah with thunderstruck eyes. There’s admiration in her voice, compassion, and Sara Leah’s hard glare seems to soften as Riva watches, turns gentle as it is around Ariella.

She looks away from Chaykie, uncomfortable, and turns that gaze of hers on Meira. “Look, there’s– you’re not going to need any of that,” she says. “But if you do, chas v’shalom, I can walk you through it.” She twists her hands together.

Meira nods, her breathing still shaky. “Thank you,” she says. “I’m sorry. I just…it’s been so demoralizing, you know?”

They all nod, even Aliza, even Riva. There, an emotion that they all know, that moment of disappointment on a maybe month, that instant of defeat when maybe becomes no. Riva sits on the recliner, feels a pressure like a tightness in her heart. “I wanted a daughter,” she says, and she remembers it, the moment when she’d found out that it would be impossible. “I always thought I’d just…keep going until I got one. But with my last childbirth, something ruptured.” She’d been told that the baby in her arms would be her last, to enjoy her boys, and it had been enough. It had to be enough, because there hadn’t been any other options. Oh, she’d toyed with the idea of fostering or even adopting, but it hadn’t been practical, not with all those boys in the house. She has learned to love what she has, but that creeping wish had never quite disappeared. “I always wanted a daughter,” she admits, and she feels a little flare of shame to admit it even now.

“Well,” Henny says. “You have six now, don’t you, Mommy?” She’s smiling, sitting on the end of the couch beside Chaykie, and Riva smiles back shakily. Henny hasn’t called Riva Mommy since the day that her oldest had been born. It had always been an uncomfortable thing, Riva knows, calling someone other than her own mother Mommy. When Chaykie had married in next, she’d gone straight to Bubby, hadn’t considered any other name for Riva.

Riva feels the name like a warmth rising through her, and she watches as the girls speak quietly on the couch, lost in a conversation that seems to comfort Meira as it continues. Sara Leah talks about pregnancies that hadn’t come to fruition, that had gone terribly wrong in the early weeks and left her crumpled on the floor in despair. Henny talks about a miscarriage that Riva had known about, and Chaykie about one that Riva hadn’t. “I felt like…I thought you’d all judge me,” Chaykie admits. “For being so upset about losing a baby when I already had four–”

“Never,” Sara Leah says fiercely, and she reaches out to squeeze Chaykie’s hand, leaving Chaykie looking startled and gratified.

“I don’t think I want any more,” Aliza says suddenly. “Whenever I say that, my mother laughs at me and says I’ll change my mind, but I’m overwhelmed sometimes just with Laya and Sruly. I just don’t think I’m cut out for a big family.”

You’re young, Riva almost says, and then bites it back before it emerges, a habitual response that she is beginning to realize she needs to shake. Sara Leah, at once the champion of every woman in the room, says, “Two is perfect.”

Aliza smiles at her. Meira curls up against Chaykie, Aliza rubs her shoulder, and Riva is at once in awe of them all, these five daughters who are so much more than sniping comments and tense conflict. In a moment, they have condensed into a sisterhood, and her home feels small and cozy and safe again, like a place where something new is blossoming beneath the festering dark.

They sit together for a while more. The conversation changes, becomes lighter. The women bet on which boy falls asleep first at shul (“Loser has to wash all the dishes tomorrow night,” Sara Leah crows, and then, without any malice, “Chaykie is off the hook, though. Don’t think Bubby can handle any more broken china,” and Chaykie kicks her shin with a roll of her eyes) and then debate on a round table question in the magazine that Aliza had been reading. They disagree on most things, are lively in their arguments, and Riva sees in them five of her sons, in their opinions and intonations and in the way that they seem to enjoy every moment.

The clock ticks to one. A baby wakes up downstairs, and Chaykie excuses herself. Meira yawns and Henny walks her up to bed. Sara Leah goes to the kitchen without a word, and Riva sees her retrieve the broom and dustpan to clean up the mess on the floor.

She exhales, and Aliza says from her spot on the couch, “Leora wanted to be here.”

Riva blinks at her. “What?”

Aliza’s words are careful, thoughtful, as they always are. Riva has found it intimidating in the past, though she is sure that it is mutual, if only because of how anxious Aliza always seems to be around her. Tonight, though, she speaks with confidence. “Leora and I were talking before Yom Tov,” she begins, and Riva is assailed by another strange truth, by the possibility that her daughters-in-law might have a relationship outside of this house. Do they talk often? Do they talk about her? Do they like each other, after all?

And then Aliza says, “Leora likes it here. On Shavuos night especially. She loves the table with all the kids and the afternoon chaos.” She offers Riva a small smile. “Her husband was insistent, though. Now that Dovid is old enough to learn Chumash in school, he wants to start learning with Dovid in their shul, just like Zaidy did with him.” She looks wistful. “It’s a nice idea, isn’t it? We might want to do it with Sruly someday, too. She didn’t want me to tell any of the other girls– didn’t want you to lose your Shavuos– but I think she’d be all right with you knowing.”

Riva breathes in. Shavuos is hers. Shavuos is her time with everyone, and the idea of it shattering on the ground this year, too, is crushing. If Leora starts a revolution– if she loses another family to this–

“There are other yomim tovim,” Aliza says gently. “I think everyone might be a little more willing next time.” She closes her magazine, stands up and yawns. “I just thought that you should know. Leora would have been sorry to miss tonight.”

She vanishes downstairs to the basement and her children, and Riva hovers on her suggestion for a few long minutes before she returns to the kitchen.

Sara Leah has swept the china away, has washed almost all of the remainder of the dishes, and she works with brisk efficiency. Everything about Sara Leah is a constant battle for perfection, to let the world know that she is doing it all right, that she can handle it all. Riva thinks that she might understand it a little more now, the desperate need for them all to know exactly how well she is raising the daughter she’d wanted so badly.

She says, “Thank you, Sara Leah,” and lays a hand on her back. It doesn’t undo anything else said tonight or before, any other little battles that they’ve fought in insinuations and subtext. But it is gentler than she’d ever been with Sara Leah (Sara Leah doesn’t need gentle, doesn’t respect it, or so she’d thought until now), and Sara Leah leans back into her touch.

“Have a good night,” Sara Leah murmurs, and she sets the last of the dishes on the drying rack and goes downstairs.

Riva retrieves a single piece of china from the top of the garbage and rinses it off. The night has cooled off, and the lawn chair is waiting invitingly. Her daughters-in-law are going to sleep, and her boys are at shul.

She looks at the piece of china in her hand, smooth except for one jagged corner. It is a fragment of winding gold against smooth white, a memento of tonight. Something terrible and broken and destructive had moved through them, but here that little piece is: beautiful and shattered, delicate and still worth preserving.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 10:54 am
I love this! Totally don't understand why it wasn't published. You write so so well!
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 10:55 am
Wow. This is so meaningful, thought provoking, and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing!
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 11:10 am
That was beautiful!! I have tears in my eyes.
I wonder if they thought it was too sad for shavuos
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 11:33 am
Wow op. I loved it. You have a real talent.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 12:17 pm
Thanks, all! The magazine turned it down because of the content. I'm not sure exactly which part was the dealbreaker (or maybe it was the overall theme) but there are some sensitive topics in here and I knew that it was a long shot when I submitted it.

It was too close to Shavuos to submit elsewhere, but I did still want to share it somewhere.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 3:40 pm
ml6 wrote:
Thanks, all! The magazine turned it down because of the content. I'm not sure exactly which part was the dealbreaker (or maybe it was the overall theme) but there are some sensitive topics in here and I knew that it was a long shot when I submitted it. .

Great story!

The frum magazines don’t discuss choosing to have less or more or specific numbers of children.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 5:51 pm
Wow! It really felt like I was in it, and it was so moving, I cried. Very real, beautifully written, and excellent character development.

I would love to know who you are so I can read more of your work! Thank you so much for sharing this.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 6:11 pm
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 6:53 pm
This was excellent!
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 7:03 pm
Thank you ml6!
I really enjoyed that!
So well written. By the time I was done I felt like Riva and her daughters-in-law were people I know not characters in a story.
Come back and let us know when you have your first book published. Unless you've already done that in which case, same as Butterscotch, wish you could tell us your name.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 7:18 pm
Wow this is incredible!
I guess the magazine don’t want it because of the talk about family planning.
Well that’s our gain! Thanks for sharing!
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 7:33 pm
I don’t usually enjoy these Jewish short stories but really enjoyed this one
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 7:41 pm
Also want to add- I’m a mom of a bunch of boys (no girls yet) so this really resonated.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 8:06 pm
Beautifully written. I do hear why they didn't print it (I wouldn't be comfortable with my teen reading it) but I really enjoyed
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 8:09 pm
That was amazing! So much better than many of the stories in the magazines. Each character was developed and the themes resonated.

(One minor nitpick: Aliza supposedly has two boys but one is named Laya. Is that a boy's name? I've only ever heard of it as a girl's.)
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 8:16 pm
amother [ Royalblue ] wrote:
Great story!

The frum magazines don’t discuss choosing to have less or more or specific numbers of children.

This. Don’t take it as an affront to your writing skills, which are excellent. Great story.

I don’t think any of the frum publishing houses would take this either which is a pity. So many women would love to write and read about sensitive topics, many of which need to be discussed more.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 8:28 pm
Wow. I loved it.
When you describe that moment in the month where it becomes a maybe and then a defeated no… every women has been through that and it made me feel so understood.
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 8:34 pm
That was great. Surprisingly so, I don't love frum literature lol. Definitely rejected bc of the family planning aspect not the writing. You should try the new magazine I shared (that got controversial lol) bodiessouls.com - for future pieces if not this one, but idk if they pay
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Post Mon, May 30 2022, 9:14 pm
Thank you so much for the great read! You write so beautifuly.
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