Legal Property

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Friday, May 20, 2011

FICTION FRIDAY: One More Time, Chapter 9

Early the next morning, with Dorcas’ help, Sarah sent word to Paul’s brothers and sister, telling them as much as she knew about Paul being missing, his broken leg, and his being possibly in a cloth merchant’s caravan. She gave the letters to Dorcas, hoping that his siblings understood and could read Aramaic, because she wasn’t conversant enough in Greek to write a letter in it.

“By the way, Sarah,” Dorcas said, “we would be pleased if Tamara joined us for meals until her father returns. Orphah enjoys her company. Tamara’s a good child.”

“My thanks, Madam.” Sarah nodded to Dorcas. “Sometimes Tamara gets hungry waiting till after I’ve finished.”

Hamath made no overt passes at her that morning, other than a smarmy look from the breakfast table while Dorcas was chatting with one of the children. It wasn’t worth telling Dorcas about; besides, she hated the thought of being a tattle tale.

As she cleaned the cooking area after breakfast, she heard a thump and a yell from behind her. Darius came running into the cooking area. “Sarah, come quick!” he cried, “Gideon fell out of the tree, and he’s not moving!”

Sarah dropped the pan she carried onto a work table. “Run get your mother.” She pushed his shoulders in the direction of the hallway. “I’ll go see what I can do.”

She ran outside and found Gideon lying on the ground under the tree, breathing but unconscious, a bump forming at the top of his forehead. Carefully she felt along his arms and legs for broken bones, looking for any blood, and checked his ears for blood, too. She was grateful her employers in the “real” world insisted on first aid training. She held his head still with one hand and gently tapped his cheek with the other.

“Gideon, can you hear me?” She called him with a loud voice. Gideon opened one eye slightly, blinked at the light, and whimpered. His hand moved to the bump on his forehead, and he sat up and began to cry. Sarah breathed a sigh of relief and gathered the little boy into her arms, grateful the injury wasn’t severe.

“Sh-sh,” she murmured softly, “It’s okay, it’ll stop hurting soon.”

Dorcas arrived then, and Sarah handed off the child to his mother.

“He’s okay, but we need to make sure he stays awake for several hours. We can’t let him take a nap today.” Sarah patted the boy’s back.

Dorcas gazed at her in astonishment. “Are you also a healer, Sarah?”

Sarah shook her head. “I only know a little, Madam, from my former employer. However, I know enough that, had I been here when my husband fell, I could have set his leg better than the ‘healer’ who did the work on him.”

“Hamath sent for a healer—and I understand he didn’t set the leg straight.” Dorcas’s lips tightened., “If only we’d been here instead of going to fetch the puppy for the children in Ornithoupolis. Your poor husband had to suffer the ministrations of a man who didn’t know what he should have about broken limbs. It’s my fault, not yours. I should have insisted that we call a real physician as soon as we returned. Or have you reset it.”

“No, Madam, you can’t blame yourself. By the time we returned, we thought his leg was set. It swelled so we couldn’t tell it hadn’t been set right. And he was in such pain no one wanted to cause him any more.”

“It may be too late now to do anything about it now. If he is found—when he is found—or returns, we will send for a physician and try to make amends,” Dorcas said. “Meanwhile, I can’t stay here this morning. I’ve an appointment with someone who wants to sell a piece of their land, and it’s a piece I might want to invest in. Please watch over Gideon and make sure he doesn’t nap.”

By this time, Gideon had stopped whimpering. He squirmed to get down, and when Dorcas put him down, he ran off to play with Darius, rubbing the knot on his head.

“Of course, Madam,” Sarah nodded. There went her trip to the marketplace to see Jonas this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

The next day was Saturday. After the morning meal, she left for the marketplace. However, Jonas’ his stall stood empty, as were many others. She shrugged. It must be the day off for them. Ah, well, there was always next week. So far, the children were still busy with the alphabet.

Vendors weren’t the only ones needing days off. The children should have a day or two off per week to just have fun instead of study, although they enjoyed the lessons, too. Sarah gathered vegetables, fresh fish, fruit, and some ground grain for bread for the next few meals and walked back home.

That evening, Dorcas came to Sarah in the cooking area after the meal. “I won’t be here all day tomorrow, at least until the evening meal, but Martha will be here if you need anything.”

“Thank you, Madam.” Sarah bowed her head. “By the way—would it be acceptable to you if the children take one or two days a week off from study? I thought I might take them for walks or to the beach. I could teach them names of plants or to swim.”

“That would be acceptable to me, Sarah,” Dorcas agreed. “I’ll also tell Hamath, so that he also won’t object. And you won’t need to ask him, which he might construe as a favor that would put you into his debt.”

Sarah smiled at Dorcas’ insight and wit. She knew her husband well. Still, it amazed Sarah how fond—and tolerant—Dorcas was of Hamath, despite his immoral tendencies. Sarah could keep Martha near with a minimum of effort. All she needed to do was begin a conversation, and Martha would stay, chatting a mile a minute.
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