Hello...here's my first fic, "Someday." It was tricky writing this. I had to choose my words carefully and make sure my characters from one hundred years ago didn't go around saying "Okay"! My school is doing "Fiddler on the Roof" this year for the spring musical, and it's been on my mind a lot. Hope you enjoy!
The sun was shining on the little village of Anatevka. It was a small, poor town, filled with hard-working people struggling to make a living. But for the most part, they were content with their community and comfortable with their traditions. Change was spreading in other places, but Anatevka remained the same.
A young girl ran down one of the dirt roads of the village to her house, carrying an armful of firewood. She looked to be ten years old, and her face was flushed from exertion. Her headscarf was starting to slip off, and a few strands of brown hair fell about her face. She made her way to the house, opened the door, and put the firewood by the stove, panting.
"Mama, can I go out and play?" she called. Her mother appeared from the next room and looked at her sternly.
"Tzeitel! You look a mess." Golde scolded, fixing her eldest daughter's headscarf. "Why do you run and carry on like this?"
"I'm sorry, Mama," Tzeitel said. "But I'm all done with my chores!"
Golde gave her a critical look. "All your chores?"
"Well…not all. But I did Hodel's chores last week when she was sick. Can't she finish my chores today?" Tzeitel said, a bit guiltily.
"Hodel is younger than you, Tzeitel. You have to set a good example for her and for Chava. You won't do it by making a fuss. You'll wake Shprintze, she only just fell asleep." Golde seemed to always have something to criticize, even when she was talking to the girls' father.
"I know, Mama. But when I was Hodel's age I was doing more chores. Please can I go play?" Tzeitel said, continuing her pleas. "I'll keep my headscarf on, and I won't run around, and I won't be loud. Please?"
"Please! Motel's outside and he's waiting for me. Please, Mama?" Tzeitel pleaded.
Golde looked at the pile of firewood. "Be back by sundown. There will be more chores waiting for you," she instructed.
"Oh, thank you, Mama!" Tzeitel said happily, and she rushed out.
It seemed Tzeitel and Motel had always been friends. They were born a few months apart. Golde and Shaindel, Motel's mother, were good friends. When both children were younger, their mothers would do chores together with the children under close watch. While Golde had become preoccupied when her other daughters were born, Motel and Tzeitel had remained close friends.
Tzeitel and Motel always played together on a little hillside just past Motel's house. Tzeitel forgot about promising her mother to stop running and hurried there as fast as she could.
She arrived, panting, fixing her headscarf as she went. It was spring, and the hillside was covered in green grass with little flowers dotted here and there. Motel, who had been sitting among the flora alone, stood up and smiled upon sighting his friend.
He was gangly and tall for his age, with a mop of dark hair under his hat and wire-thin glasses perched on the bridge of his nose. He was clumsy at times, but when it came to needle and thread, he was precise. Motel was learning to be a tailor, like his father.
"Motel, Motel! I got all my chores done early for you." Tzeitel said proudly.
"I didn't think your mother would have let you come out." Motel said, awed. Golde intimidated almost everyone, especially Motel, who got anxious very easily.
"Don't you have to work at your father's store today, or go to school?" Tzeitel asked.
"Not today. My father wasn't feeling well, so he told me to go outside so he could rest." Motel smiled.
"What's school like?" Tzeitel asked as they both sat in the grass.
"It's pretty boring. I wish you could come to school with me." Motel said.
"Motel, that's silly. Girls don't go to school. I have to stay home and help my mama with the chores." Tzeitel giggled. "Someday when I am older, I'll be able to keep a proper household just like her."
"You like doing chores?" Motel asked. Tzeitel shrugged. "Not really. But I have to learn. Someday I'll be a wife and mother, and I'll have to do everything my mama does…cook, clean, sew clothes, raise children…"
She trailed off. "I wonder who I will marry," she said contemplatively. She turned to Motel. "When you're older, will you be a tailor like your father?"
"Of course I will. It's my duty. Someday I'll have to run the store and make clothes so I can make a living for my family." Motel said.
"Running a store sounds difficult." Tzeitel said. "Well, men's work in general sounds difficult. My papa is always so tired when he comes home." She looked at him and tilted her head. "Are you afraid?"
Motel was silent for a minute. "A little bit," he admitted. "It's hard work, sewing by hand." His eyes suddenly lit up behind his glasses. "Tzeitel, imagine if there was a machine that did sewing for you. And all the stitches would be perfect!"
Tzeitel laughed. "That would be lovely. But daydreams don't get work done, Motel. My mama always says things like that."
"Does she?" Motel asked. Tzeitel nodded.
"I like daydreams," Motel said absently, picking a flower off the hill.
"That's a pretty one," Tzeitel said, inching closer to him. He nodded.
"Tzeitel, I know I'm going to be a tailor. I know someday I'm going to have children. But I just don't know who I'll marry." Motel said, examining the flower in the sunlight.
"Well, whoever the matchmaker brings, I suppose." Tzeitel said. But she often wondered the same thing, especially considering how she was growing older and soon she'd be of a marriageable age.
"But what if I don't like who the matchmaker brings? What if we don't get along?" Motel asked, worried.
Tzeitel lowered her eyes. Her mama and papa fought over money, over work, over food, over almost everything. They didn't act like they loved each other. Tzeitel didn't like overhearing the fights, especially when she was with Hodel and Chava. Shprintze was too little to understand, but she had to reassure Hodel and Chava everything was fine when Tzeitel herself wasn't all that sure.
"Well, you can hope you like whoever Yente brings, and so can I," she said, determined.
They were silent for a while, watching people go by on the dirt roads of their little village. Suddenly Motel turned to Tzeitel, his eyes bright.
"Tzeitel, I just had a wonderful idea," he said.
"What's that, Motel?" Tzeitel asked, curious.
"When we get older, why don't we marry each other?" Motel said. "I mean, we're friends, so we'd get along. It'd be better than leaving it to chance with Yente, wouldn't it?"
"Yes. Actually, that would be wonderful. We'd get to be together all the time!" Tzeitel said excitedly. "I could help you at your tailor store. After all, my mama taught me to sew, and I'm really good at it."
"I knew it was a good idea." Motel said with a smile.
He took the flower in his hand and placed it carefully in her hair. She giggled shyly. "I'll keep it with me always," she told him.
They sat together playing until Tzeitel noticed it was almost sundown. She and Motel parted ways, each dashing home just in time.
"Mama, guess what?" Tzeitel said as she helped her mother set the table. The flower resided safely in her apron pocket.
"What, Tzeitel?" Golde said absently. "Hodel, fix your headscarf. Chava, get washed."
"Motel and I are going to get married when we're older." Tzeitel said.
"Don't be ridiculous. Girls and boys don't make matches for themselves, the matchmaker does." Golde said sternly.
"But Mama! We promised!" Tzeitel whined.
"Tzeitel--" Golde began impatiently, but Tevye cut her off.
"Golde, they're just children. Don't worry about it. As the Good Book says…" he started.
"I'll worry about my own children, Tevye!" Golde shouted. "Tzeitel, don't stand there, set the table."
Tzeitel did as she was told, one hand in her pocket, playing with the petals of the flower.