Here’s another tale from Ayala. Her previous series described what it’s like to be a non-rebellious outsider in Bais Yaakov. Coming from a public school elementary school, Ayala never really felt at home in her bais yaakov high school. In this story, I suspect that’s also the reason she had the guts and awareness to do the only right thing. I mean the right thing in part 3, but part 1 isn’t bad either.
The sun beat down. I was waiting for a bus and feeling very ugly. My parents were stalling on getting me contact lenses, I was wearing my Bais Yaakov uniform, my hair was frizzing, I wasn’t wearing makeup, and I was sweating a bit. I was thankful that only a little old lady at the bus stop was seeing me in this decrepit state.
A scrawny boy with a pizza face peered at me from a store window across the street. Even underneath his acne, his face was ugly. His gaze made me feel like squirming uncomfortably, but I restrained myself as a matter of pride. He crossed the street and walked up to the bus stop, peering closely at my uniform. “Hi. You go to That School?”
I disliked him immediately. “No, I go to another school and I wear this to fool people,” I snarled.
He smirked. “What do you think of Stein?” Rabbi Stein was one of the principals.
“I don’t think anything of him. I avoid authority figures whenever possible. After all, they don’t understand that girls at bus stops might not want to be talking to the boys that bother them there.” The last thing I needed was to be hauled in to explain this situation.
His smirk broadened. He took out a cigarette and lit it. “I’m Stein’s son.”
My jaw dropped. I had heard that Stein had an asshole son, but I had assumed that it was like all other Bais Yaakov rumors — often overblown and, usually, at least partially untrue.
The old lady at the bus stop chose that moment to cut in. “Do you mind moving over?” she said in a scratchy Russian accent. “ I have a lung condition.”
Stein’s smirk did not waver. He didn’t budge. My dislike turned to blinding rage. I took a step towards him and jutted my face into his so that our noses almost touched. “Move!” I bellowed. Somehow, his smirk grew even bigger, but he took a few steps away so that the smoke didn’t blow in the old lady’s face.