Part 3 of 3
The rest of the evening with Daniel went very well, but I found myself somewhat distracted and was keen to get home to try and help Maya find her son. I tried to find his name on Facebook, but had no luck. This is going to be a little tougher than I thought, I say to myself, but I like a challenge.
The next morning, my phone rings as I am walking to work. “Hey stranger”.
For once this was someone I actually know – my best friend, Hannah. I haven’t seen her for ages. Having just started a new job has meant that I have hardly had time to speak to anyone, apart from mysterious women looking for their sons! “I know what you are going to say, and I am sorry! I really am!”
“Well I didn’t like to say anything, but you have been off the radar for a while. I miss you”.
“Work has been crazy, and just getting my head round everything. I am hoping to be able to be a bit more sociable again soon”
“Well what are you up to on Shabbat? Remember my friend, Gemma, her and her husband moved just round the corner to you a while ago, and she invited me over for dinner, and said you should come along too. Wanna come and be sociable?”
“Yeah, ok that would be lovely. So what’s new with you anyway?”
Hannah tells me that she is having major issues at work, and seriously thinking of leaving. It is such a shame to hear that as she is such a great teacher. Ever since the new headteacher started in September she said she felt like the school doesn’t appreciate her or the other teachers. “It’s a really horrible atmosphere amongst the staff, which was never how it was before” she says.
I feel bad for her as she used to love working at the school, and always tells me how cute all the kids are.
I tell her about Maya’s phone calls. She thinks it all sounds very intriguing, but she always did like mystery stories!
My week at work goes pretty quickly, and by Friday I feel like I am finally getting more of an idea about how the office works. I am also getting to know some of the people at work which makes it all a bit better, and I am starting to feel less like the new girl!
When we arrive for lunch at Gemma’s on Shabbat, she tells us her husband, Rafi is still on his way back from shul. She says she is running a bit late as Anna, her baby, has not had her morning nap. We offer to help Gemma, whilst Anna plays on the floor with some toys.
“She is such a cutie. I just want to squidge her.” I say to Gemma.
“Trust me, she looks cute now, but has been crying her head off for the last hour!!”
By the time Rafi arrives, the table looks great. The starters are all laid out, and the food smells coming from the kitchen are amazing.
Rafi comes into the living room with another couple, and comes into the house wishing us all a ‘good shabbos’.
“This is Adam and his wife Dana. This is Hannah and Sara, and of course my lovely wife, Gemma who has prepared what smells like an absolute feast.” He bends down to his little girl who is gurgling on the floor. “And this is my beautiful Anna-Banana”. She giggles as he holds her up high in the air and makes funny faces at her.
We all say hello to each other, and make our way to the table so that Rafi can begin kiddish. Just as he is about to start there is a knock at the door.
“Hi Jonny, come in, come in.”
“I am so sorry, I’m late. I got a bit lost and forgot which number house you lived”.
“No worries, no worries. You’re here now, and just in time”.
Jonny walks in. He looks a little bit hot and bothered probably from walking around the streets of Edgware, and says hello to everyone.
Once kiddish is done, we all sit down at the table to have the starter. Having seen how much is yet to come, I know I have to pace myself!!
We help clear the plates after the first course, and take them into. Gemma is taking chicken from the hotplate and puts it in a dish. “Wow, how do you manage to make all of this. It looks amazing.” I say as I pick up the dish and take it to the table. She has made cholent, chicken, rice, potatoes, vegetables and meat loaf! The others are chatting, but I don’t really hear the conversation as I walk back and forth to the kitchen with the endless amazing dishes.
When we finally sit down the chatter is in full flow, the dishes are passed around, and people fill their plates.
“Girls, Adam was just telling us about his new business. Sounds quite exciting”.
“Just waiting to finalise the office space, and launch the website, and then it will all be done”
“Well, if you need any help with setting up the website, let me know.” Jonny says
“Oh is that what you do then, web design?” Adam replies.
“Yes, kind of. I’ve just got a new job at a company in East London, and this is the area I am hoping to move into. I’ve done websites for friends and family, so would be happy to help”.
“Thanks, I may well take you up on the offer”.
“Sara has just started a new job too” Hannah pipes up.
“Oh really, what are you doing?” Gemma asks.
“Well I’ve just started working for a publishing company. We do mainly children’s books. I will have to get you some for Anna, if you want Gemma”.
“That would be lovely, thanks. She is more at the stage of chewing books rather than looking at them, but maybe she will start looking at the pictures soon!” Gemma replies as she takes Anna out of the high chair and sits her on her lap. Everyone at the table laughs, and Anna giggles too which makes us all laugh more!
We chat about all sorts of things, and before long we get onto a conversation about people we know in common. It turns out that Adam and his wife are originally from Glasgow, but have lived in London for a few years. Hannah explains that she has an uncle who lives in that area. “Wow, Mr Cohen is your uncle? He was my teacher at school. What a coincidence” he says.
I start to tell everyone about my recent random calls from Maya. How she has been trying to get in touch with her son in London, but can’t seem to get through to him on his mobile. I say how she has been desperate to get in touch especially as his dad, Jerry, had been in hospital recently, and she really wanted him to know.
“Wow, that’s quite a story. Do you know his name?”
Before I can finish the sentence, I hear “His name is Jonathan Brownstein.” I see that he has tears in his eyes. “It’s me. I am the mysterious son”. Everyone at the table turns to look at him “My mum and I had a bit of a row before I left and I hadn’t heard from her so just thought she was giving us both time to cool off. If I had known that all of this was happening, I would have got in touch with her sooner. Thanks so much for helping her, and for letting me know”.
“I guess, it really is a small world sometimes!” I say.