(I have a favor to ask: after you read this, can you please describe Matthew in one or two words? I want to see if my idea of him is coming across clearly. He’s a character I’m considering for my next Amish novel. Thanks!)
Matthew straightened his straw hat and plunged through the crowd with the purse of Abram’s Hannah clutched in his hand. It was just the little change purse she used on bazaar days, but she’d be missing it soon nonetheless.
Abram’s wife Hannah was ten yards ahead, her white kapp and sea green dress just visible through the throng of shoulders as she made a beeline for the door closest to the hot pretzel stand. He had to catch her before she reached it.
Spence’s Bazaar consisted of three large buildings arranged like three sides of a square, with the fourth side open to the gravel parking lot. The middle of the square was filled with rows of merchandise up for auction. Amish and English alike meandered along the rows, stood chatting in groups, or power walked with purpose through the crowd toward one building or another. Matthew was plowing through with purpose.
Near the door, Matthew’s cousin Melvin stood beside a piglet in a wagon. Several children were crouched around it petting the piglet and their mothers hovered nearby gossiping. Melvin was writing on a clipboard; probably taking orders for pork for when the piglet reached butchering size. Matthew didn’t see Melvin’s steady girlfriend Candace anywhere. Pretty, pretty Candy; Matthew had almost had a date with her before Melvin swooped in.
Matthew circumvented the wagon, barely acknowledging his cousin’s wave, and stumbled over the wagon’s handle which lay prostrate on the gravel. He steadied himself and blushed. At least, he hoped he was blushing. Dozens of eyes were on him and word would spread through the Amish community.
He caught Hannah’s arm just as she was reaching for the door to the food court building. Slightly winded and favoring one foot, Matthew handed her the purse and smiled away her gratitude. It was nothing, really. A good deed so small that it didn’t deserve such praise.
He glanced at a group of young Amish women eating ice cream at a picnic table not far from the door. Pretty Abigail Zolstof was among them. Matthew smiled to himself; she had seen the whole thing.