After the three boys visit with Berl and Fisch, Kalonymous relates to Breindl and Motti his experiences in Yerushalayim living in Chilik’s home. He then goes out of the house, but will not say where.
* * *
Unable to resist, Yehuda followed behind Kalonymous.
“Say,” said Kalonymous, turning around to face his nemesis. “Leave me alone already! You did your part, and I appreciate it, but it won’t make us friends.”
“It’s okay,” said Yehuda. “I’m patient. By the way, I don’t like your new outfit.”
“Thank you. When I want your opinion —which will be never — I’ll ask for it.”
“So what’s the big secret? Where are you going?”
“Somewhere,” said Kalonymous.
“You’re not going somewhere. You’re going to Zayit. Why?”
“I’ll let you come with me if you promise not to talk and not to bother me,” said Kalonymous.
Yehuda laughed again. “First of all, there’s no chance I’m going to stop bothering you. It’s too much fun. Second of all, I’m coming anyway. I’ll be quiet, but only because I’m a nice person, not because you told me to.”
They approached the Zayit home, where Kalonymous was given a royal welcome and Yehuda was greeted warmly and with familiarity. They each took a drink when it was offered, then Kalonymous asked Zayit if he would join him for a walk.
Outside in the balmy evening air, the tension eased. Yehuda walked on one side of Zayit and Kalonymous on the other, as Zayit led them to the Field of Dreams.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole time I was away,” said Kalonymous, as they approached the plot of land.
“Your brothers like to come here and roll around,” said Yehuda, earning a sharp look from Kalonymous, as if to warn, “Stay away from my field.”
“It made them feel closer to you,” Zayit affirmed. “What’s on your mind, Kalonymous?”
“I know now what I want to put here,” he said.
“It’s a big decision,” said Zayit. “But there’s one thing you have to know about fields. The land is permanent, but you can always change what you put in it, or on it.”
“I know!” said Kalonymous. “Here’s my idea…”
The following morning after Berl and Fisch awoke, the celebrations started anew. Breindl cooked and served, the guests and the boys ate and ate. She tried to talk to the new arrivals a bit, and Berl was very sociable in between bites.
“Mrs. Rothstein,” Berl said, “You are a marvelous cook! Everything is delicious. My brother and I have lived on bread, herring and onions for more years than we can count.”
“The food by you was good!” Dovid’l piped up. “There was so much of it!” No one had the heart to tell him it only seemed that way to his young eyes. The truth was rather different.
Berl leaned over to pinch Dovid’l’s cheek, and Breindl gasped, about to warn him that it was not a good idea, when Dovid’l smiled and leaned into Berl’s hand instead of smacking it away, as he had been doing. He had turned back into the loveable little boy he had once been, before hardship encased him in a cocoon of rage.
After another round of thanks, Berl and Fisch retired outside to relax. Hershel, the canary in the coal mine, sidled up to Fisch and remained at his side, whispering in his ear. Fisch nodded from time to time, smiled, kissed the top of Hershel’s head, but said very little. If Hershel noticed, he didn’t care. He was just happy his good friends were back.
The bolder Kalonymous spoke to Berl directly. “What happened to Fisch?” he whispered, taking care that Fisch shouldn’t hear him.
“The bullet only grazed his shoulder, but the force of it threw him back on the ground a little too hard, into a boulder, actually, and he got a klop in kup, you know what it is? I got hit in the leg, so between the two of us we were a real sight.”
“Who found you? How did you get to Copenhagen?” asked Kalonymous.
“I don’t really know. We pulled ourselves further into the woods but we must have left a trail. We were not so awake, you know, bullets really hurt! But I think someone picked us up and put us in his truck and drove us someplace and someone took care of us. They never told us their names, but after we were a little better, he drove us to the refugee office. After that, we stayed with Bruno.” Berl took a long drought of tea, as though these types of things happened to him every day.
“What did the man look like?” asked Kalonymous.
“He was huge. The biggest man I’d ever seen. He drove a red truck, if I remember right.”
“That’s interesting,” said Kalonymous. “The man who rescued us was also huge. He also drove a red truck.”
“Really,” said Berl. “There are plenty of big Danes with red trucks out there. Must have been a coincidence.”
“Must have been,” Kalonymous echoed, but he wasn’t so sure that was the case.
To be continued . . .