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Friday, August 12, 2011

FICTION FRIDAY: One More Time, Chapter 18A


The next morning after breakfast, Sarah watched as Hamath approached the cook area. Her stomach tightened. Would he accuse her of “tattling?”

Hamath cleared his throat. “Sarah, my servant and I will need food and water enough to last about a week. Have it ready within the hour.”

Sarah bowed her head. “It will be ready.”

An hour later, Enoch tied the dried meat and fruit and water skins on a packhorse. Before they left, Sarah lifted her gaze to Hamath. “Thank you, sir, for going after my husband.” She made no mention of Dorcas’s revelation that he had been the cause of Paul’s disappearance.

Hamath looked at her askance from the back of his horse and left.

After he left, Sarah made for the marketplace with her basket in one hand and Tamara’s hand in her other, eager to tell Jonas the news. Martha had much to do that morning, and Sarah didn’t think it fair to leave her with one more distraction to keep track of. It didn’t slow her progress much. In fact, sometimes she was hard put to keep up with the child. Tamara was excited about her Papa coming home, and she skipped, hopped, and ran most of the way to the market.

When they got to Jonas’ shop, Sarah laughed as she pulled the child to a halt when Tamara skipped in a circle around her. “Jonas and Dathan, please allow me to introduce you to this little animated angel—this is my daughter, Tamara.”

“Hello, Tamara.” Jonas grinned and knelt down to her level. “Are you always such a happy girl?”

“My Papa’s coming home, coming home, coming home!” Tamara sang.

“Oh, that is happy news.” Jonas said, turning to Sarah with a question in his eyes.

“Yes,” Sarah said, glancing at Tamara. “Dorcas had a, uh, discussion with Hamath yesterday. It appears he might have, um, contributed to Paul’s disappearance, and he sort of, uh, volunteered to go get him back.”

“How, um, nice of Hamath.” Jonas grinned. “And how wonderful that Paulos will be returning. I’m overjoyed for both of you. Does Hamath know where Paulos is?”

“Not exactly, but apparently he knows where the slave master is from. Dorcas was confident Hamath would have Paulos back within a month.” She picked up Tamara and hugged her. “We’ve been celebrating ever since we heard the good news last evening, haven’t we, Tamara?”

“Yes! We’re cebberlating!” Tamara bounced up and down in her mother’s arms.

Jonas and Dathan laughed.

“Wonderful! May his return be quick and safe,” Jonas added. Customers were coming into his shop. Jonas and Dathan quickly turned to help them, waving goodbye as Sarah and Tamara made their way through the early morning crowd to the food section of the busy marketplace.

By the time Sarah and Tamara returned home, the day had warmed up considerably. When Sarah had first arrived in this ancient time, it had been late spring and raining occasionally, but now the summer was in full swing. Very little rain, and today’s temperature she guessed would be close to eighty degrees, perfect swimming weather. After the mid-day meal, she gathered up the children and headed for a secluded area of the beach. The children played naked in the cool water, and Sarah waded in after taking off her outer tunic.

Sarah tied a knot in the bottom of the inner tunic between her legs so it wouldn’t ride up. One at a time, she showed the children how to float in the shallow water. Then she had them compete to see who could float the longest, making sure they didn’t float out beyond where they could easily touch bottom. After about an hour, they all headed back home, happy and smelling much better. It wasn’t the custom in this time to bathe often, but Sarah always breathed easier when the body odor of other people she was in the proximity of wasn’t so obvious. She was even more conscious of the odors when they were her own.

She was happy her days would be busy over the next month. It would be difficult to wait patiently until Paul returned. The thing she worried about most was that by the time he returned it would be too late to correct the break in his leg. Paul might live crippled and in pain for the rest of his life, but at least he would be where he had a place to live and she could take care of him.


Despite days that dragged by on turtle feet, time did pass. Tamara had two more evenings with fevers and seizures, about a week apart. As usual, the fevers subsided almost as fast as they arrived, but each incident left Tamara tired and weak for longer periods. Worse, each time the fever and seizure seemed to increase in intensity. Even so, I couldn’t wish to go back to our own time. Doctors then hadn’t had much luck curing her, either.

The thinking in this ancient age seemed to be that seizures were caused by demons, so Sarah didn’t mention the seizures to even Dorcas. Jonas was the only person other than Paul and herself who knew. Tamara’s fevers nearly always happened at night, so hiding the fact hadn’t been difficult. Tamara’s decline in health, though, was observable, and Sarah’s fears for her child increased. Tamara said Jesus said He would see her again, and Sarah feared Jesus would again be seen by her baby when He carried her away with Him forever.
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