“Y oung lady,” Officer Maxwell said to Idy. “The child seems to like you. Please come with us.” Moe lay beneath the starched hospital sheets, his head swathed in thick white gauze.

The nurses rushed to and fro between the partitions. The usually quiet hospital hadn’t had its beds filled since three years before when there had been an outbreak of influenza in the city. A tall man walked into the large room and approached the nurse in her stiff uniform and starched white cap perched on her head.

“Excuse me,” he said, “I was told that Moe Miller was brought here recently.”

The nurse studied the man over her spectacles. “Yes, he was. And you are?”

“Joseph Matthews. Moe works for me. We’re like family.”

“Right this way, sir.” Mr. Matthews followed her to a curtained-off area. She pulled back the curtain just a bit, and Mr. Matthews peeked in.

“Unfortunate fellow,” the nurse said. “He suffered a serious head wound. At his age, the healing process isn’t as speedy as when we’re youngsters, but the doctors are hopeful.”

“May I?” Mr. Matthews asked, indicating with his hand that he wanted to enter.

“By all means.” The nurse moved to the side, and Mr. Matthews walked over to Moe’s bedside.

“I’ll leave the two of you alone,” she said disappearing to the other side of the curtain.

Mr. Matthews looked down at the injured man. “Moe, I don’t know if you can hear me, but I came as soon as I found out that you were transported here. It was a miracle that Mrs. Sommers found you when she did. I want to tell you that your niece, Lulu, is alive and well.” Mr. Matthews stopped talking and stared at the elderly man. When no response was forthcoming, he continued.

“She’s safe and warm, and eating a piece of rock candy that Zachary gave her. She and all her friends are at the police station.”

Mr. Matthews spread out his hands. “I just wanted you to know.” He turned to leave, then turned back and faced Moe’s still form. “Get better real soon. Zach and I need you.” He sighed and pulled back the curtain.

On his way out of the ward, he saw a young man sipping from a glass. Mr. Matthews recognized the sorrow on his face, and his heart went out to him.

“Sad to see people suffering,” the nurse who had helped him said from behind. Mr. Matthews turned to face her.

“Yes, it is. Very sad.” He thought about his own wife who had died in this very hospital a few years before.

“His wife is unconscious. Just like your friend, Mr. Miller. Only she’s expecting a baby any day, so it makes the situation a bit graver.”

Mr. Matthews sympathized with the young man. “He’s got a lot on his plate then. I wish him and his wife well.”

He couldn’t help but think of Idy’s and Jacob’s suffering, as well as Lulu, the tiny toddler torn from her parents in the dead of night. His heart went out to Moe’s niece and nephew whoever they were. Then he unexpectedly thought of his son Zachary, and how much the boy had suffered, and still did suffer each day. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 683)