M rs. Sommers jumped up. “Did you say Jacob?”

Idy’s eyes filled with unease. “Y-yes.”

“Idy!” Mrs. Sommers closed her eyes and fought for breath.

“Mrs. Sommers!” Idy said, “What is it? You’re frightening me.”

Her voice shaky, Mrs. Sommers opened her eyes and took Idy’s hand in hers. “Idy,” she said slowly. “Come with me.”

Idy’s legs felt weak. “Where to?”

Her grip tightened on Idy. “He’s here, Idy. Here.” She pulled Idy up and to the door, then yanked it open.

“Who’s here?” Idy asked.

Pulling Idy, Mrs. Sommers ran to the bunkhouse and threw open the door.

“Jacob!” she called, but his bunk was empty. Without a word, she pulled Idy out the door and ran to the main house.

“Jacob! Jacob!” she shouted, but the house was quiet. “Zachary!” she called, but there was no answer. He had gone to the shed in search of Jacob to relay Moe’s message about breakfast.

“Zachary must have gone with Mr. Matthews for the order.”

Idy blinked. “Matthews? Did you say, Matthews? He’s the man who bought Jacob.”

“Yes, Idy, I realized that. Jacob is here on this farm.”

Idy grabbed Mrs. Sommer’s arm. “Here?”

“Yes! He is alive and well, and here! The farm is big, so I can’t tell you exactly where he is now, but he’s here.”

Idy’s face fell into her hands, but she didn’t shed a tear. Mrs. Sommers let the news penetrate the girl’s consciousness, before she sat her down by the table.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes,” Idy whispered.

Mrs. Sommers looked at the plate of food and grinned. “Moe must be back. Look, he set a plate for Jacob. That means Jacob hasn’t eaten breakfast yet. He’ll be here soon enough. He’s a hungry boy with a healthy appetite.”

“Can I wait here for him?”

“Certainly.”

Idy sat in Jacob’s place, twisting her hands with anticipation. “I just may burst at the seams. I don’t remember ever being so excited.”

Mrs. Sommers laughed. “We could go look for Jacob, but there are acres of land here. He could be anywhere, and by the time we reach the other side, he may very well be right in here where you’re sitting, eating.”

Idy tried to contain her excitement. “It feels as if I haven’t seen him in years.”

Mrs. Sommers inclined her head in understanding.

“Why don’t you eat what’s on the plate?” Mrs. Sommers suggested. “The food’s getting cold. I’ll prepare another portion for Jacob when he comes.”

Idy was hungry, but wasn’t sure she could eat even a morsel in her eagerness. She looked at the filled plate, and her mouth unexpectedly watered. “Thank you.”

Idy hadn’t had hot food in years, and didn’t know where to begin. Then she saw the bread. “Is it all right if I wash my hands first?”

“By all means.” The woman showed Idy to the sink and prepared a towel for her.

“I’ll need a cup, please.”

Mrs. Sommers eyed Idy, and silently handed her a cup. Idy washed her hands properly for bread then sat down at the table. She made a brachah and took a bite.

Mrs. Sommer’s eyes never left Idy’s face. “You’re Jewish.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 675)