Purim

By Mira Schlosberg

My lips are sticky with cinnamon and sugar when I see her across the room. Red hair twisted up at the back of her neck, sensible dress. I wonder if either of us dresses outside of the synagogue the same way we do when we are here. I have half a warm donut in one hand and a strawberry cocktail the colour of something much more chemical than strawberries in the other. I try to wipe my mouth on my wrist as subtly and effectively as I can before she sees me. Our eyes catch each other’s and she smiles at me.

She is eating a gluten free hamantashen. I say I don’t think I’ve ever done Purim before. She says it’s always fun, though she is new to this shul as well and isn’t sure what to expect. I ask how long she has been coming here. Since Rosh Hashanah. When was that? September. Oh right.

The foyer smells sweet and doughy. People in costume are bright all around us. We are ushered to our seats. One of the rabbis is dressed as a banana and the other is a pirate. They make jokes at each other across the room while they hand out the scripts and the noisemakers. We are sitting in the section that is meant to be reading the part of Esther. Our scripts are pink.

I spin my noisemarker very lightly, holding it between my thumb and forefinger. When I am not spinning it I hold it in my lap the same way, too gently. Maybe it is the cinnamon sugar or maybe it is because she is next to me or maybe I am just clumsy, but I drop it. It falls on the edge of her glass, which she has placed on the floor, and a piece of the glass breaks off. Two shards skitter across the carpet but the rest of the cup stays intact. The soggy strawberries continue to float, oblivious. I wonder whether she has noticed. She has. I make a face and mouth that I am sorry.

After the service and the spiel I text my sister about breaking the cup.

She texts back, ‘God answered u.’ This is a reference to a text I sent her earlier about asking God when I would find my soulmate.

My sister says, ‘U kno they smash glass at Jewish weddings.’

I did know this, but I had forgotten.