Rude Awakening // I really wish they’d told me before

As told to Chaya Gross

When I picked up the phone that morning, I had no idea that my life was about to change forever.

“Hi, Mommy!” I said cheerfully. “Today is our two-month anniversary. Any ideas for what I can make for a special supper?”

“That’s nice, dear,” my mother replied in a strained tone. “There’s something I wanted to talk to you about. When are you available?”

“I’m available right now,” I replied, confused. “What’s going on?”

“I need to talk to you in person,” my mother said. “Without your husband. Just us.”

My mother sounded so unlike herself that I felt my stomach turn. Something had happened and it sounded bad. “Are you feeling okay?” I asked. “I mean, you’re not sick or anything, right?”

“No! Chas v’shalom. I’m as healthy as can be.”

“What about Tatty? Is he okay?”

“Everyone’s fine. I just wanted to speak to you about something important,” she replied evasively.

“I’m coming over right now,” I said quickly. I couldn’t take the suspense. “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

When I walked into the house, my mother sat me down on the couch. My father was sitting in his seat at the head of the dining-room table. They both looked extremely nervous, and if I wasn’t mistaken, her eyes looked a little red. “What’s going on?”

“Tatty and I love you very much,” my mother said, avoiding my gaze.

My mother never talked like that. “Ma, just tell me what’s going on.”

“Tatty and I are getting divorced,” my mother blurted out. My father was examining his fingers.

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