Countdown (Part 1 of 2)

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I’ve known Effi since forever, although that’s not exactly the truth. His sister Dassie was one of my best friends growing up, which meant that he was always in my peripheral vision, so to speak. He was nice (compared with most of my friends’ brothers), and he was easy to talk to (not that we talked one-on-one very often), and he was gorgeous – their whole family is. Effi and Dassie and their little brother Noam all have these dark, dark eyes and thick black lashes, with varying shades of brown hair on their heads. Dassie’s is the darkest; Effi’s is the lightest.

I can’t say that I had a crush on him, exactly. When he was around, when I was at Dassie’s house for Shabbos lunch or to work on a project for school, I noticed him, but my day-to-day life was so far from his that any possibility of him as anything but my friend’s older brother was practically unthinkable.

Anyway, as we got older, our paths crossed less and less. I would go to their house and he would be out, or Dassie would come over to me. He had a part-time job at the pizza place his last two years in highschool; when I saw him, we would both say hi but never converse. After I finished high school, I almost never saw him. Dassie and I went to the same seminary, but different colleges; we met up often enough, but we didn’t visit each other’s childhood homes much.

In my last year of college, I started shidduch dating. I wasn’t sure whether I was ready, but everyone said I should try anyway, and who knows what could happen, at the very least it would be practice for the real thing.

Practice? Practice dating?

How did I ever fall for that crock?

It’s so tedious, dating. You choose your clothing to make sure you give off the right impression to a complete stranger, and you go, and you ask, “What do you do for a living” (or, “What do you want to do for a living”) and “How many children do you want” and “Do you want to make aliyah” and it’s always the same questions and the same restaurants and the same awkwardness. And what, if all the dots line up then that’s it, mazel tov, you’re getting married?

Then I realized the absurdity of the fact that I was getting all burnt out dating and I wasn’t even ready to get married. So I took a break.

And afterwards, even when I was ready, I remembered what it was like to go on all those dates, and I did whatever I could to avoid it. No shidduchs for me, I was resolved. I’ll meet my beshert naturally through Divine intervention or not at all.

About a year after my last set-up, my roommate came back from a date with someone her cousin had set her up with. “A nice boy,” she reported. “But not for me. I think he would be a great match for you, actually.”

“Tali…” I warned.

She kept talking. “In fact, at the end of the evening, I told him all about you.”

“Tali!”

“It gets worse. I told him your name and he seemed very interested. I guess he knows you somehow.”

“What? Who?”

She smirked. “I knew that would get your attention. His name is Efrayim Landau.”

I didn’t recognize the name right away. Here’s how it happened: I thought, Hmm, Landau. That’s Dassie’s last name. I wonder if they’re related. Does she have any cousins named – wait, Efrayim – that’s Effi!

I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

As it happens, my first date with Effi was the absolute worst date of my life. We had nothing to talk about. We couldn’t figure out whether to act like we were already acquainted (which was true) or nearly strangers (which was also true).

I tried to sound witty – it came out unhinged. I tried to sound sane – it came out deadly dull. And I had to sit on my hands the entire time in order to keep my fingers from tapping nervously on the table.

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Noa believes in romance, friendship and justice. She doesn't, however, believe in the Oxford comma.
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  • Ayo Oppenheimer

    The characters and storylines are really well-developed and I like that we can trace the progression of the characters’ lives through your different pieces. Don’t stop writing – we want more!

    • Noa

      I’m glad you like it, and thank you for the platform! This series would not work anywhere else in the world.

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