Chava Berman Borowsky

The Narcissist

We meet every day at exactly 12:10 on the bench outside our building waiting for the hasa’ah of our children who go to the same school, albeit in different grades.

“Hiiii Daaahleeeng,” she almost screams to me every day in her thick exaggerated British accent.

I sense something unusual about her, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. She’s a SAHM who’s always overdressed and talking about her new luxury purchase.

“You look nice today,” I sincerely tell her. I usually enjoy giving people compliments, knowing that it can really boost their day.

I’m expecting a thank you. Instead I receive a different response. “Oh, everyone is always telling me how good I look.”

She then proceeds to tell me that she was at the mall this morning to buy her son pants. “I only buy my kids clothes in Zara’s or Adidas because I haaaaaate the way elastic bands look on pants,” she unnecessarily informs me.

“But at least we can afford it because of my husband’s business. I’m so happy that I don’t work – it’s so much stress to also have kids and also work,” she again uncalled-for informs me.

I right then and there decide the best thing for us is to have a playdate. Maybe she really is a sincere person? Maybe I just need to get to know her better.

She’s happy to oblige. There’s only one minor detail I notice. The lady who screams “Hi Dahleeng” to me every morning doesn’t know my name. She asks me what name to save in her phone. 

“Oh of course, yes, I knew that,” she lies to my face. 

The playdate gets canceled because she had a very important matter come up. I see through my window that she’s in her garden with her kids the entire afternoon. She’s with her bestie who lives up the block who also brought her kid to play in the garden.

The next day I take my kids to the park after school as I normally do. I see that she’s surrounded with her friends who are laughing together and tasting each other’s dinner that they brought to the park.

“Fuck this, I’m not in high school anymore,” I mutter to myself as I take my kids home. I’m becoming physically ill just by seeing her.

I make a commitment to myself that I will not be anyone’s narcissistic supply. Thankfully, I have self respect and dignity.

A few years later I’m living in a different city when I hear that her husband lost all his money, she works as an office manager, and they now rent a tiny apartment.

“There’s justice in this world,” I finally believe with every fiber of my being.

I try so hard not to gloat and be happy, but I fail miserably.

About the Author
Chava Berman Borowsky grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an Orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in 2008 and has since lived in Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Holon, and Ashdod. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, painting, and writing.