(Resuming the story. This continues after "59. The day arrived.")
"You won't really believe you can chant until you do it a second time," said S. after our triumphant debut.
I couldn't wait. A few of us decided to go to the community retreat at the beginning of June and, with some trepidation, called the cantor ourselves to see if he needed more readers. This felt like an act of enormous chutzpah; it would have been less intimidating to request an audience with a head of state. But he had plenty of aliyot available, and I got two of them. Learning to chant it this time around was like hanging out with an acquaintance whom I knew would soon be a best friend; we felt uncannily comfortable together.