Sometimes it feels as if half the frum population is invisible.

They can’t dance.

They can’t sing.

They can’t speak loudly.

They can’t even appear in newspapers.

Shrouded in black, they disappear into the gloominess of the Stamford Hill scenery as, clustered around prams, they attend to the mundane chores of life. Swatches of colour, bursts of colour in an otherwise dark world, their daughters trail behind them. Then they age. The red dresses turn to pink; the pink becomes a muted grey; and finally, fade to black. More black in a world where what we really need is light. Almost silent, they speak in whispers. The phones clutched in their hands apparently immodest, the heels on their shoes condemmed even more heavily. So they abandon their phones, they affix rubber soles to their shoes, and silently, they drift from supermarket, to supermarket, before returning home.

Where they stay.

Sometimes I’m happy to be a frum woman. But sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever manage to become invisible. To meld into the background the way they do. To whisper, to hibernate, to disappear. I’m here. Living and breathing. But you won’t see my photograph. And you won’t hear my voice. And soon, you won’t see me at all…

Published by Lily Smythe