“Did you see the way she walked?”

“Tall and proud, like a princess.”

“But not in a haughty manner.”

“No, definitely not.”

“She never said a word to me.”

“Not to me, either.”

“I was sure she’d come today.”

“Have you seen sign of any family?”

“Do you know where she’s staying?”

The women chatted over the shul morning kiddush about the mystery girl, wondering who she was. None of them noticed that every word they spoke was being picked up by the sharp-eared girl sitting in the corner. Then again, none of them ever paid that girl any mind.

From her hair to her nickname to her personality, fourteen-year-old Leah Shoshana Michaels was different. Lesha, as she was known, had long red-gold hair she always wore in a ponytail, gray eyes with the barest hint of green, and towered over most of the girls her age. She had very few friends (although she didn’t seem to mind), and she never shut up- unless she had a good book, in which case she’d read so quietly you’d forget she was even there.

That was what she was doing now, same as every week after the rabbi spoke and made kiddush: sitting in a corner, reading a book.

But she was aware. As she read, she listened to the stories of this girl she’d never met, and probably never would. After all, Lesha Michaels was an only child.

She couldn’t help but wonder about this strangely helpful mystery girl. Who was she, and how long would she stay?