-ing. They pull the blanket towards me. “Get in!” Hannah commands. “No. You’re wet.” “Edith!” Hannah reaches around me and drips of water fall off her bare shoulders. I try to push her away but she holds me anyways. “What’s wrong?” “My grandpa died.” “Just now?” “I dunno. Maybe not.” “Maybe not?” “My dad called.” “Do you want to call him back?” “In a minute.” We all look out at the glassy pond and we’re silent for a while. Then Lizzie bends past Hannah to look at me. “Should we like... say Kaddish?” I turn to look at her. “You’re Jewish?” I feel inexplicably disoriented by this. “I thought you were from Wisconsin.” “My mom’s family is.” “Well, you have to have at least ten people for the Mourner’s Kaddish.” It’s two o’clock in the morning and the steam is rising over the pond where Thoreau may or may not have written his masterpiece and my grandfather is dead, and I’m still an insufferable Hebrew School Know-It-All. “There has to be a minyan.” “Oh yeah.” Lizzie stares out into the flat sky. “Why is that?” I don’t remember so I pretend to be busy picking at my toe callus. “It seems like a nice rule,” Hannah offers. “After someone dies. Like an anti-loneliness clause.” “I think I remember actually…” I strain to recall the Hebrew School lesson from the greasy rabbinical student who ate graham crackers from his pocket. “It was Sodom and Gomorrah, that city with all the sinners? And God wanted to kill everyone. And Abraham asked God if he would spare the city if there were fifty righteous people inside of it and God said he would. And then FICTION | 25
Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and art selected for phoebe's Winter 2019 issue.