CARMEN`S PRAYERS

Needless to say, the appearance of Nicholas on the scene represented such happiness for Moshe! On the green lawn, where yesterday there had been only a black watering hose, now lay inflatable swimming rings, pirate ships, and dinosaurs. On the table there is often a laptop connected to the internet where you can play computer games. The refrigerator in Nicholas’s apartment is always stocked with different flavors of ice cream: chocolate, strawberry, or with nuts.

When Nick invites Moshe over, he busily pushes the chair next to the refrigerator, climbs up, opens the freezer and immediately pulls out all the cartons. Sometimes, of course, they get into trouble, say, when the heavy cartons fall on the floor, or Esther suddenly notices that her son isn’t in the yard and starts to search for him. Then Moshe fills his mouth with spoonfuls of cold ice cream, and, nearly swallowing it whole, runs back into the yard. When his mother asks him what he was doing at the neighbor’s, Moshe, smeared with chocolate and cream, answers truthfully that he was eating a lot of ice cream.

***

“I never thought I’d become a drug addict. My dream was to become a famous singer; I once had a rare soprano voice. We lived in Bardstown, in Kentucky. My parents put me in a special music school and paid a ridiculous amount of money for my studies. And then my voice started to break.” Jeffrey took a long drag on his cigarette, as if to worsen the condition of his vocal cords. “My musical career ended there. And everything fucked up.”

They sat under a canopy in the courtyard. On the table was an open bottle of Grey Goose vodka; a saucer held olives and slices of cheese.

It was near evening, but it was quite hot out.

Jeffrey poured himself a shot.

“Ten damn years of addiction! Dope, coke, pills. Overdoses, hospitals, life on the street…” He spoke softly so Esther, who was playing soccer in the yard with the kids, and Michelle, who was reclining in a chaise longue, book in hand, wouldn’t hear.

“My family has rejected me because of my drug use,” continued Jeff.

“A Jewish family was rejecting their son? That doesn’t happen very often,” Roy said.

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