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As we waited, my family seemed to fold into itself. Our days were spent shuttling back and forth to the hospital and then later between the rehabilitation facility and our home. We had no guests. We had no time even to think of guests. Though we never told him not to visit us anymore, Aaron stopped coming over.
Thank God, Yanky did recover. The neurosurgeons said that it was because he had been wearing a bicycle helmet when he crashed. While that was true, I had another explanation. It was something I’d figured out on my own, but I never shared it with anyone until I met Aaron’s mother on the street one day.
She’d heard about the accident. She told me that she had been praying hard for Yanky. Then she hugged me. Though we didn’t know each other well, her hug felt natural and good.
“You know about Aaron’s special friendship with Yanky. I don’t think it’s a coincidence — what happened and how things turned out, I mean,” I told her.
“Yes I thought that, too,” she said, and she hugged me again.
To a believer, nothing is random. Life is a puzzle. lf you look closely enough, you see how the pieces connect.
Yanky is back at school now and almost completely better, and Aaron is back in our lives.
These days, when he comes over I try harder to listen. In some way I feel I owe him something. Maybe each time I force myself to stay awake through his long stories or fix his tea the way he likes it (“two little spoons of sugars and milk, please remove the teabag”), I’m paying back a cosmic debt. I don’t know for sure; God’s account books aren’t open for us to inspect. But there’s never any harm in doing a mitzvah.
Carol Ungar is a writer and food blogger. She is at work on the forthcoming cookbook “Jewish Soul Food” from Brandeis University Press. Read her work at www.kosherhomecooking.com.