Y itzy had never been so scared in his life. He ran over to where the old man lay on the floor. Many thoughts raced through his head as he ran. Why did Mr. Greenbaum fall? Was he sick? Was he still alive?

“Mr. Greenbaum!” Yitzy cried, “Are you okay? Should I call Hatzolah?” He held his breath, waiting to see if the old man would respond.

“Harumph!” Mr. Greenbaum cleared his throat loudly.

Yitzy’s heart skipped a beat. Mr. Greenbaum was alive!

“Call Hatzolah?” asked the old man, in a hoarse, raspy voice. “Why on earth would you call Hatzolah?”

“Huh?” Yitzy was in shock. Mr. Greenbaum was looking right at him, and on his face was a huge smile.

Yitzy couldn’t believe it. Mr. Greenbaum had been his neighbor all his life and had never seen him smile once.

“This is very funny,” chuckled Mr. Greenbaum, “I can’t believe that I just tripped over my own shoelace.”

Yitzy looked down and noticed that Mr. Greenbaum’s shoelace was indeed untied.

Mr. Greenbaum began laughing loudly. Yitzy stared at the man in amazement. Mr. Greenbaum is laughing, he thought to himself. How can this be? I’ve never, ever seen him look the slightest bit happy.

Yitzy sighed. Nothing that’s happening today makes any sense. First, I got chosen to represent my class in a Mishnayos competition, and now I’m seeing old, grumpy Mr. Greenbaum smile and laugh. There is only one explanation for all this. I am dreaming. This whole crazy day has all been just a bad dream. I bet I’m still in bed, and my mother is going to wake me up any second now.

Mr. Greenbaum sat up on the sidewalk and held his hand out to Yitzy. “Would you mind helping me up, Yitzy?” he asked.

Yitzy was surprised to that Mr. Greenbaum knew his name. Almost in a daze, Yitzy reached over and grabbed the old man’s hand. He braced himself and helped pull the old man up.

Mr. Greenbaum was heavier than Yitzy had thought. Could people feel heavy in a dream? he wondered

“Ow,” grunted Mr. Greenbaum, when he was finally standing.

“Are you okay?” asked Yitzy nervously.

Mr. Greenbaum bent over, and began rolling up the right leg of his pants.

The right knee was quickly turning a deep shade of purple.

“I’m fine,” answered Mr. Greenbaum, “I think I just banged my knee when I fell. It feels like it’s a little bruised. Would you mind helping me walk to my apartment?”

“Of course,” answered Yitzy. He quickly positioned himself next to Mr. Greenbaum. Mr. Greenbaum looped his arm through Yitzy’s and the two of them carefully made their way into the building, down the hall, toward Mr. Greenbaum’s apartment.