"Did my father call yet?” Benny asked as soon as the boys came home from cheder for their afternoon break. 

Rivka put a plate of pasta and roast chicken in front of him. “Yes, he spoke to Mendel about an hour ago. He said to tell you that everything is fine and there’s nothing to worry about.” 

“When is he coming back home?” 

“He said he’ll see you later, so I guess that means he’s planning to come tonight.” 

Benny sighed. “I hope so,” he said. 

Chaim poured himself a glass of juice. “It’s unexpected but not exactly terrible,” he said. “Why so glum?” 

Benny sighed again. “You wouldn’t understand.” 

“Try me.” 

“I just hate it when things like this happen,” Benny grumbled. “Your family is so normal. Your mother keeps house and your father learns and teaches. I wish I lived a normal life like yours.” 

Chaim thought about that while he scraped up the last traces of spaghetti with his fork. “Things have sure gotten more exciting since you guys came here,” he agreed, licking tomato sauce off his knuckle. 

“Exciting? You could put it that way. One day I’m almost kidnapped and the next day my father disappears into the unknown on the back of a motorcycle behind a total stranger. I have no idea where my mother is or when she’s coming back, and Tzipi… well my sister is a phenomenon all by herself.” 

“Boys, please finish eating so you’ll still have some time to rest before you have to go back to cheder,” Rivka reminded them. “You boys have a long day of learning, and the whole purpose of the afternoon break is so you won’t be too tired to concentrate.” 

In the boys’ bedroom Benny lay on his back, hands behind his head, and stared at the ceiling. Where was Mommy? Where was Tatty? And why didn’t anyone understand how he felt?