Circumstantial Evidence // I know that a Person is Innocent until Proven Guilty, but still…

As Told To Yonina Ben-David

The bell rang just as I put my baby down for a nap. I straightened my snood and went to the door. My sister Toby was standing there with another girl. “Hi!” she said with a grin. “Long time no see.”

“I should have known it was you,” I said. Ever since I’d given birth, my younger sister who was studying in a nearby seminary, had been making non-stop visits, sometimes to help out and sometimes to show off her new niece to another friend. It was wonderful that both of us had ended up in Israel at the same time.

“This is my roommate, Hindy,” she introduced the other girl.

“Nice to meet you,” Hindy said pleasantly. “I’ve heard so much about your adorable baby.”

“Can we come in?” Toby asked. “I want to show her off to a new audience.”

“Sure,” I said as I stepped aside so they could come in. “But she just fell asleep, so you’re going to have to be quiet. Come with me. I just put her in the crib in my bedroom.”

The two girls followed me on tiptoe.

“Isn’t she a beauty?” Toby whispered as she pointed to the tiny pink bundle. “I’m obsessed with her.”

“She’s precious!” Hindy whispered back. “Look at that head of hair!”

“Let’s go into the kitchen,” I suggested. “I have loads of cake and cookies that the neighbors keep sending over. The brownies are especially delicious. I’ll send you back to seminary with a care package.”

“Sure thing!” Toby said, following me out of the room.

But Hindy remained behind.

“I’d like to stay here for another minute or two,” she said, standing over the crib. “I love looking at newborns.”

Toby and I walked back to the kitchen. “You sit,” she instructed me. “You’re still a kimpeturin. I’m perfectly capable of helping myself, and I’ll also make you a cup of coffee.”
A minute or so later Hindy joined us.

“Your baby is really cute,” she told me. Then she turned to Toby and said, “You know, we’d really better go. We have a halachah class this afternoon.”

“What’s the rush? We still have another 15 minutes,” Toby said as she cut another slice of cake. “Here, have something to eat. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll serve you something?”

“Thanks, but I’m not hungry,” Hindy replied. She remained standing. “But you can eat. I don’t mind waiting.”

We made small talk for a few more minutes and then they left, just as the baby started crying again. I went into the bedroom to feed her. After I was done, I picked her up and walked around the room, trying to get her to burp. But I stopped short when I reached the dresser. Where was my diamond necklace? The night before had been Motzaei Shabbos, and I distinctly remembered taking off my Shabbos jewelry and putting it in the little dish I kept on the dresser. All of the other pieces were exactly as I’d left them, but the diamond necklace was gone. Just then the baby burped and I quickly put her down. I checked the dresser again: no necklace. I looked under the dresser with the same results. I opened each and every drawer and went through all my pockets but the necklace had disappeared, vanished without a trace.

I had definitely worn it yesterday and placed it on the dresser. What could have happened between then and now? I racked my brains. The only people who had been in the house since then were my husband, my sister and her friend. None of them would have taken it. Just then I remembered how Toby’s friend had lingered in the room and I started to get goose bumps.

The first person I called was my husband.

“Did you see my diamond necklace by any chance?” I asked him.

“Why? Didn’t you put on the dresser?”

“I did,” I said with a sigh. “But it’s not there now and I can’t find it.”

“That’s weird,” he replied. “It was definitely there this morning.”

A knot was forming in my stomach. I called Toby.

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