"C ould they be following you?” Chaim asks rhetorically.

“That would be crazy,” I declare, though after seeing them outside our cheder for the third time in 24 hours I’m entertaining a little doubt.

We’re at the shul waiting for Minchah to finish. At cheder we already davened Minchah, so we’re just passing time until Abba’s shiur. Our voices won’t bother any of the mispallelim because we’re standing out in the courtyard.

“Meir,” Chaim says very seriously. “Don’t turn around.”

Without moving I look at my friend’s face and see that he’s watching something behind me. “Those two Arabs are here!” he whispers. “They got out of their car. Now they’re walking in our direction.” Chaim grabs my sleeve and pulls me inside the shul.

We quickly and quietly slip into the last row of the beis medrash and take out two sifrei Tehillim. The wheels in my mind are spinning. It isn’t possible that those strangers are really following me, right? They must have business in our neighborhood and it’s totally a coincidence that I keep seeing them.

I flip back and forth among the pages, searching for a perek that fits. Abba says Dovid Hamelech wrote Sefer Tehillim to give Jews a way to express everything in our hearts, and that Dovid Hamelech could do that because he experienced absolutely everything possible. He certainly had a lot of practice being pursued by his enemies. The sefer finally opens to perek 70. “L’hatzilaini Hashem” definitely seems appropriate. “Save me, Hashem.”

After a few lines my mind wanders. What are those men doing now? They wouldn’t dare follow me in here. I’ll have to tell Abba after Maariv. Maybe they’ve been there for years and I just happened to notice now. I’m not an especially observant person. When I concentrate on something I can walk past an elephant and not see it.

My friend Chaim is the perceptive type. Ima says we get along so well because our personalities are different; each of us brings something to our friendship that the other doesn’t have. I make an effort to lasso my wild thoughts and concentrate on the words in the perek.

Suddenly Chaim nudges me with his elbow and throws a purposeful kind of look toward the nearest window. I glance in that direction and my heart does this somersault thing. It’s fortunate I’m already sitting down because my knees turn to jelly.

The lights are already on in the shul. Outside it’s gradually getting darker so the windows function like mirrors. From where we’re sitting here in the back, the entrance to the shul is reflected in the glass pretty clearly. I see three distinct forms standing close together at the entrance talking together: the two strangers — and our class nemesis, Shimmy Gutman! (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 694)