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Friday, January 13, 2012

Fiction Friday: One More Time, Chapter 32 - Old Wounds

JULY, 30 CE - OLD WOUNDS

Paul explained some Greek verbs to the children when Martha interrupted. From the door of the children’s room she waved to him. “A man by the name of Ebenezer and his wife wish to talk to you, Paul.”

“Thank you Martha—would you show them into the dining room? I’ll be come in just a moment.” Paul gave the children a lesson to complete then strode to meet his visitors.

Paul caught the couple in the middle of a whispered argument. “Hello, Ebenezer.”

“Oh! Hello,” Ebenezer said, turning to face Paul. “This is Emma.”

Paul smiled at the diminutive woman and nodded his head. Emma looked something like her mother, indicating that perhaps Mehida had also been an attractive woman in her younger days.

“I hear from my husband you met my mother,” Emma said.

“Yes, I did. A slaver who kidnapped me thought I was dead and dumped me at the side of the road. I was almost dead when she found me, and she and a pair of physicians saved my life. She is much older than when you last saw her, and she is alone.”

“She didn’t want me to leave,” Emma responded. “I haven’t seen her since just after we got married, and that was fifteen years ago. Why should I try to reopen old wounds?”

“Does she know you have children? Has she seen them?”

“No, and no.” Emma lifted her chin. “Ebenezer’s mother lives with us. She has been a good grandmother to them.”

“It has been my experience that sometimes parents soften their views toward their son-in-law—or daughter-in-law—once there are grandchildren. It wouldn’t surprise me if by now Ebenezer might have turned into the best son-in-law ever known. Of course, if you don’t want her to know her grandchildren, that’s your choice.”

“It’s not that I don’t want her to know our children. It’s just that I don’t want her to reject them, and that’s what I’m afraid would happen if we went to see her.” Emma’s eyes looked moist.

“I don’t think she would. We talked a lot. She spoke of you with love, even through the hurt of what she felt like was your desertion. She thinks you don’t care about her nor want to take care of her when she gets too old to take care of herself. She doesn’t want to leave her home unless she can’t take care of herself. She said she wants to stay there where her husband and babies are buried.”

“My husband doesn’t want her living with us in our house. She was insulting to him before,” Emma said, looking at Ebenezer. “It’s his home, and his mother’s there, too. They might not get along. My mother can be very tyrannical and trying.”

“Is there room to build a separate house or room for her on your property?”

“No.” Ebenezer held up his hand. “I don’t want her there. I don’t wish to live in a house of strife.”

“As I told you before, we will take her into our house if you won’t.”

“Wait Ebenezer,” Emma said, a pleading look in her eyes. “Mama wouldn’t live with us until she can’t live alone.”

“Mehida won’t live with us at all,” Ebenezer said stubbornly. “I told you it would be a mistake to come here. If Paulos loves Mehida so much, he can care for her!”

Ebenezer left the house. Emma cast an anxious look at Paul, then turned to follow Ebenezer.

Paul stepped between her and the door. “Does Ebenezer know your mother is probably fairly wealthy?”

“Wealthy? We always lived like paupers in that little house. Where did she get any money?”

“She said that your father was a successful businessman, and she hid the money somewhere in her house or around her house. That is all I wanted to tell you. You should go after your husband.” Paul moved aside to let Emma through the door.

“Yes, thank you. I’ll tell Ebenezer. I know part of his objection, although he didn’t say so this day, is that we have very little. We can’t add another room to the house or a separate house because we don’t have the coin to do so. Goodbye Paulos.” Emma bowed her head and left.

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