Selected Works of Fiction and Personal Inspiration
Yael Mermelstein manages to mine the extraordinary out of the ordinary, lending a unique richness to the daily lives we all lead. There's something for every age, stage and mood in the pages of this book, which includes both published and never before published materials.
Stories as varied as the flowers that adorn the earth!
In the Rose section you will read about love: a daughter desperately seeking her parents' approval of her husband, an overweight man seeking his match, and more.
In the Anemone stories a woman struggles to live with guilt, and a recent returnee to Judaism battles to prevent her family from "pulling the plug" on her dear aunt who is in a coma.
The Daisy section, where childhood and innocence abound, includes, among others, the story of a Rabbi Akiva-like janitor learning Torah with the children in the school he cleans.
And if Sunflowers make you smile, the octogenarian planning his own funeral where he intends to be very much alive might just make you laugh out loud.
Once you have had your fill of fiction, the Aster and Kalanit sections, symbolizing patience and perseverance, offer personal essays and select poems about the author's experiences raising her children and living in Eretz Yisrael.
Finally, enjoy Free Fall, a novelette length story where you can read about the unbreakable bond between sisters, a broken marriage, a runaway teen and an inconceivable secret.
Petals : An Excerpt
The Man at the Door
I am in the kitchen simmering a delectable alfredo sauce when there is a knock
at the door.
“Come in,” I call out. I live in a friendly town and neighbors are always popping
in. My children run to the door where I hear a man asking for me. I dry my hands.
“I’m selling a soap that I manufacture by myself,” the man says. He holds a black
umbrella, blown inside out by the rain, silver spokes twisted and glinting. His face
glistens with raindrops and pride. “It has special, natural properties. It can cure almost
any skin problem.”
I think of the warm heat blowing through my kitchen and the hot sauce bubbling
on the stove. The chill from outside creeps over the threshold and I hope that his pitch
will be as brief as my ‘no thank you’ will be.
“You just hold the soap under the water to activate it,” the man says, unwrapping
a seashell shaped bar. “Then rub it on. It can cure warts, fungus, even eczema.”
I try to interject a slight apology, my body edging backwards into the house as
the wind flaps the man’s coat up around his ears.
“It has many other uses though,” he says. My children cluster around me,
listening, looking at the waxy pink bar. He prattles on while the smile freezes on my
“Mommy,” my son says to me, tugging at my arm. I look down at my ten year old
and his sky blue eyes are bright. “It sounds great.”
The man beams. I nod at my son and continue listening to the man, my mind
going fuzzy. And suddenly my mind travels back so many years and it is me who is
tugging at my mother’s sleeve. I remember the Fuller Brush man.
“Mommy, there’s somebody at the door,” I said as I looked through the peephole. "He’s
carrying a briefcase. I don’t know who it is.”
My mother came and I waited for her to tell him to leave, but instead I saw the door
swing open. A man stood there, balding, wearing a pale blue shirt and a crisp white
“Hello,” he said with a wide smile. “I’m the Fuller Brush man. I’m here on behalf of the
Fuller Brush Company." My mother waited patiently as he bent over and rummaged
through his tired looking briefcase. His head was shiny, his back stooped.
“This here is a regular favorite,” he said. “It’s a table cleaner with a rotating brush
inside. Lifetime guarantee.”
“Well doesn’t that sound interesting,” my mother said.
We tugged at our mother’s shirtsleeve. In our childhood innocence, we yearned for the
Fuller Brush man to leave with a lighter load. But we knew it would take a miracle for
our sensible mother to buy unnecessary products.
When the man finally left it was with a newly confident grasp on his bag. And we, we
were surprisingly three brushes richer, including a table sweeper we would probably
never use. My sisters and I looked at my mother, our faces round as question marks.
She opened the white Formica drawer and shoved her new toys inside.
“It’s hard to make a decent living,” she said as she banged the drawer closed in
As the man unwraps another bar of his miracle soap, my children look at me with pure,
shining faces. “It looks good,” they say.
Seven dollars, I think. I have spent seven dollars on many a lesser thing than the self
respect of a fellow human being.
I turn to the man. “It sounds so interesting.”
“Really?” he says.
“Oh yes. Look.” I take my youngest son’s hand. “He has a fungus. Can the soap can
“Definitely. It’s made of all natural ingredients.” He is already rummaging through his
“I’ll take a small bar,” I say. I pay him and he disappears into the muggy night. My
children look at me.
“I think he was happy,” my son says.
“It’s hard to make a living,” I say. I bend down and look in his eyes. “You felt that too,
didn’t you?” He nods.
“I wanted us to buy something from him,” he says. “It’s cold out.”
I sigh and kiss his cheek.
“Me too,” I say. I start washing my youngest son’s hand with the soap.
“Will my boo-boo go away now?” my little boy asks me.
I remember the Fuller Brush table sweeper. We ended up using it for years to clear our
table of crumbs. Each time it swept us clean of a few crumbs of cynicism as we
remembered the joy we had brought a man with a crisp white bow tie.
I shrug. “You never know. It just might.”