Early 1920s, somewhere in the USA…

It hadn’t always been like this. If she closed her eyes tightly, Idy could almost grasp at a memory or two from the past. It was never more than a flash, and was often blurred by her imagination, but still, it was those flickers of memories that pulled her through the long, lonely nights at the Renards’ place. 

“Idy,” her brother Jacob called from his corner of the attic, “I’m cold as ice.”

Idy climbed off the thin mattress on the floor, removed the shawl from her shoulders, and wrapped it around Jacob. “Keep your voice down,” she warned.

Jacob pulled his knees up to his chest, huddled in the wooly warmth of his sister’s shawl. “I don’t want to lower my voice. I don’t care if old man Renard hears me. I’m sick of this place. Let him throw me out!”

Idy crouched down beside ten-year-old Jacob and looked him in the eye. “You know very well that he won’t throw you out. He’ll hurt you instead.”

Jacob pouted. “I’m cold and hungry and I hate it here! It’s just not fair. Every day is the same. Nothing good ever happens.”

Idy touched his arm. “I know it seems that way, Jacoby,” she said softly, “but one day everything will work out, you’ll see. We’ll have a family like everyone else.”

Jacob scrunched his nose. “How do you know?”

Idy shrugged. “It’s not so much that I know, it’s that I daven for it every day.”

“Davening doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”

“This will happen, Jacoby. I know it will. Hashem listens to orphans.”

“Who told you?”

Idy’s brow furled. The memory of being told wisped by her before she could seize it. 

“I can’t remember, but it’s true. I’m sure of it. Just like I’m sure we say a brachah before we eat.” 

“Even if He does listen,” Jacob said, “it sure is taking a long time.” 

“I know. I was just a year younger than you are now when we were sent here,” Idy said, “

“That was over seven years ago, Idy, and Hashem still hasn’t sent us a family yet.”

Sixteen-year-old Idy rubbed her arms for warmth. “Everything has its time. I guess it’s just not time yet.”

There was a moment of quiet.

“How come you never get sad?” Jacob asked softly.

“I get sad sometimes.”

The boy’s head shook back and forth. “Never saw you cry.”

“You don’t have to cry to be sad, Jacoby.” She frowned. “Anyway, I’m too busy to cry. I’ve got my chores to do and you to look after.”

Jacob’s voice rose. “I don’t need looking after! I can load those crates faster than old man Renard can.”

Idy laughed. “You’d better get some sleep then. There’ll be plenty for you to do tomorrow. I heard Mr. Renard say a new delivery is going out.”

Jacob lay back down on his bare mattress. “Idy, tell me how it was in our house before we were sent here.”