Thursday 21 December 2017

The Party's Over by S. Nadja Zjadman

S. Nadja Zajdman is a Canadian author.  Her short stories and non-fiction pieces have been published in newspapers, magazines, literary journals and anthologies across North America and in Australia and New Zealand, in publications as diverse as Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Saturday Evening Post.  In 2012 Nadja published her first related short story collection, Bent Branches, which spans four continents and seventy years in the life of a family.   Recently Nadja completed work on a second related short story collection as well as a memoir of her mother, the noted Holocaust educator and activist Renata Skotnicka-Zajdman.   

“Madam,” the operator stated, “You’ll have to end your call.  You have an incoming call from a gentleman named Laurie, and he says it’s an emergency.”


“Madam, please disconnect your present call.  I’m putting the gentleman on the line.”

“Laurie, what the hell?!  Why did you get an operator to cut into my line?!”

“I’m sorry, I had to do it.”  Mark’s mother was almost as excitable as his own, Laurie thought.  “I’m on the emergency ward with Mark. There was an accident.”  Hearing a scream coming, Laurie hurried his words. “But he’s O.K. he’s O.K.  He got hurt in a hockey game.”

“Oh my god!  My boy!  My poor boy!  Where is he?  Is he conscious?  Can I speak to him?!” 

“Sure.  I’m about to bring him home.”  Mark’s foot was in a cast, and he was supplied with crutches.  Laurie handed his buddy the receiver of the pay telephone on the emergency ward.

“Hi Ma.”

“What happened?!”  Mark and Laurie winced as Mum’s piercing wail ripped through the receiver.

“Nothing much, Ma.  I stopped the hockey puck with my foot. The doctor says I have to stay off my feet for the next 24 hours, that’s all.”

Realizing her son would live, Mum recalibrated. It was Friday evening. Daddy and I were out shopping for ingredients for tomorrow night’s party. Laurie was put in charge of the guest list, since he knew Mark’s friends. It had been originally arranged that Laurie would keep Mark out of the house the next day, so we could prepare for the party. The next day was Mark’s birthday, and I was arranging this surprise.

Daddy and I returned from shopping before Mark and Laurie returned from hospital.  “Sit down, Abram,” Mum commanded, “And don’t panic.  I have to tell you something.”  She did.

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