THE JOYS OF BEING A STEP MOTHER
by Dayna Boksenboim
She came bouncing through the door, her dreadlocks flying.
The guy she was with was called Sly. One of his eyes was half closed. He wore a Harley Davidson Motorcycle Jacket and asked if he could smoke in the house. He was told he couldn’t and he went outside.! After so many weeks of never knowing where she was. It was great to have her home. . . She lives in the woods by the river some where.. She says its okay because she could always phone. IT’S NOT OKAY. But youth was invented for the young. That’s the way G-d planned it. Her name is Naomi and her father is an ultra- orthodox Rabbi.
Sly came back into the house looking a bit more comfortable than before. He checked out the scene and leaned against the wall refusing the chair that was offered to him. Naomi was too wound up to sit down. She was glad to be home. I understood that it was for me to tell them that Sly couldn’t sleep here. I thought that it would be better to feed them. I really wanted them to sit down. All this rustling through drawers and poking through shelves was too much . “Is there something in particular that you’re looking for?” I asked. They both looked at me. Looked at each other and laughed. I wanted to regale them with the story of how we found a black puppy and named her Lila when Naomi was five, before she had dreadlocks but some how this did not seem to be the right time. Finally Naomi found it. The tape that she had stashed in the bottom drawer of the armoire, the last time she was here. THE COMPLETE WORKS OF BOB DYLAN. The tape was mashed into the cassette player and the sounds of Bob Dylan radiated through the house. I watched Naomi and Sly dancing to the beat of the music as they made their way to the kitchen and opened the fridge, studying its contents.
“Do you read NAOMI REGAN? She’s a novelist but she used to have a column in THE JERUSALEM POST. I used to read it every Friday. . I got hooked on it. I came to depend upon it. Now it’s gone. Oh! Sorry. The column is gone. Not THE JERUSALEM POST” I said. They looked at each other, shrugged, and went back to scouting out the fridge..
Our Naomi is eighteen and living here in Israel. She is wild and free . I wanted to tell them how I remember being eighteen and how I listened to Bob Dylan with my friends. How I remember those songs when he first wrote them. It was uncanny that this was their music now. How I also lived out dreams of being wild and free. How I found out through all of that, that the real meaning of freedom is to honor your commitments.
Instead I said. “Oh I see that you pulled out the eggs and I bet you’re going to make some kind of egg thing eh?”
Naomi moved like a pro in the kitchen and whipped up a designer omelet and the kind of salad that you could only get if you lunch with the jet set at the hottest hot spot in town. She did this faster than any alternative life style person I’ve ever seen.
Then the door opened and in came The Rabbi, my husband , her father. Naomi ran into his arms and the light of love was upon them. Sly and I watched from afar.
For just that one moment we had something in common.
The three of them sat at the table and I brought out the chicken I had been baking all day and the cooked vegetables and the salad. Naomi and Sly were both vegetarian but they sat with their designer food ready to share it, and partook of the vegetables although they found the ones I made to be too chewy . I could tell.
My husband has this wonderful way with people. He knows how to get information without prying. We found out that Sly’s real name was Seymour and that he is a cop. That he and Naomi are not romantically involved yet, but would like to be married. That they would be going back to the camp site tonight for some reason. I willed my husband to get out of them what that reason might be. My ESP was not working. The conversation did not go there.
“Seymour, what happened to your left eye?” I asked instead. Two and a half pairs of eyes fixed upon me and only the sounds of Bob Dylan could be heard. The conversation resumed. It was about camping and equipment for camping and then it got into the weather conditions for camping and, THE GOLAN, THE SHOMRON, GAZA, The settlements, the wild places where every Jew is united by one thought, which is, that each and every one of us is irrevocably connected to our land, ISRAEL.
“We are also irrevocably connected to our children.” I thought gazing at this beautiful self assured young woman, my daughter. “Why not just drop the step and say my daughter.” I thought. She caught me and smiled.
I finally learned that Sly or Seymour’s eye was a temporary condition. and it was just an allergy. Seymour did not own a motorcycle, he just had the jacket. Then she and Seymour decided that just he would leave for the camp site, and Naomi would stay with us for a few days!
Naomi and I. One day at a time. We could spend time, like we used to, we could give up on what should be, we could talk. I could say what I mean the way people do when they are comfortable with each other. Or the way they laugh, when they find they’ve rediscovered those intrinsic ties that bind them.
Danya: I am a baby boomer and I was born to write humour. I began by writing humourous songs in a cabaret setting. My name at the time was Diana Marcovitz. I came from Montreal to New York in my twenties and became a star with a very cult following. I made two albums. One for Columbia records, and one for Buddah records. My sister has both of them. I moved to Israel, changed my name,(got married} and began writing humourous articles and plays.
PLAYS: THE RAGE. THE CHANUKA STORY, ROSALIE, PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, KINA GEIVA AND TIVA ARTICLES, BAD HOUSE KEEPING published by BAT KOL and won second prize in the A.A.C.I. writing contest, with a story called TU-B-SHVAT. Contact Danya.