Legal Property

* * * * * * * * * * * * * This blog is the intellectual property of Anne Baxter Campbell, and any quotation of part or all of it without her approval is illegal. * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Friday, September 30, 2011

FICTION FRIDAY: One More Time, Chapter 22

JUNE, 30 CE – TAMARA’S DREAM

More than a month passed, and still Sarah heard nothing about either Paul or Hamath. Dorcas hadn’t said anything, but Sarah could see worry lines around her eyes and mouth. The same lines must be visible on her own face. Despite her own dislike of Hamath, Sarah felt compassion for Dorcas.

Each morning, Tamara asked her mother if today was the day when Papa would be home, but each time, Sarah’s answer still had to be the same. “I don’t know. Let’s just keep going through the day till we find out.”

Tamara had gone almost a week now with no fevers, and she looked more rested. She remained pale, but the dark circles were gone from her eyes. Even so, Sarah remained afraid to raise her hopes. She remembered the course this vicious disease took before, and she could almost feel the building of another bout with it. She felt a comsuming hopelessness in fighting this disease and its inexorable progress.

She decided she must enjoy Tamara while she was here, because it appeared that the outcome could be no different than before. No human body, let alone a small child’s body, could withstand these repetitious occurrences of high fevers. Sarah remained unconvinced God would accept constant prayers for Tamara. It was too much to ask of Him to listen just to her when there were so many others also calling for His help. He must sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the prayer requests He received. Jonas didn’t think so, but she did.

Just as Sarah feared, that evening Tamara had another fever. Sarah placed cool wet cloths on the child’s head and body and gave her some willow bark to chew on.

Sarah ran to Martha’s quarters. “Martha, would you please ask Dorcas to send for Nicolas the physician? He said we should the next time Tamara got another fever, and she has one.”

“Of course, Sarah. Go back to Tamara. I’ll find Dorcas.” Martha turned and ran toward the house.

Sarah hoped Tamara wouldn’t have another seizure, but she was already quaking with the convulsion by the time Sarah was back by her side.

Frantic, Sarah turned Tamara onto her side, fearful that she might choke on the bark but then saw the wad of bark on the floor by her head. As the seizure ended, Sarah placed more cool cloths on her, trading one set of wet cloths for another when the heat from Tamara’s body warmed up each set. Before Nicolas arrived, her fever had begun to subside.

Again, Nicolas listened to Tamara’s chest, looked deep into her eyes and ears, and felt the heat of her skin. “Does your head hurt, Tamara?” he asked.

“No,” she said, her voice faint.

“Does anything else hurt?”

“No.” Her eyes drooped.

Nicolas turned to Sarah. “There are many kinds of fevers. This doesn’t follow patterns of any fevers I’ve seen. I know nothing more you can do for her. I’ll ask among other physicians to see if any of them know of something that might help. You are doing as much as I could do for her, cooling her off when the fevers hit and giving her willow bark to chew. Sometimes high fevers are accompanied by fits. If that happens, don’t let her chew the bark or leaves because she could choke. Instead, make a tea by boiling the bark and let her drink that.”

With these parting words, Nicolas left. Tamara was already asleep, and Sarah decided it was time for her to do the same thing. She lay down on her pallet and closed her eyes, but sleep didn’t come easily. Her worries about Tamara kept creeping up and pushing the sleep out of her head. It was the wee hours of the morning before her eyes finally closed in slumber.

The next morning, Tamara’s first words were out of her mouth before Sarah could say anything. “Is Papa home yet?” she asked.

“No, not yet,” Sarah replied.

“He’s coming home soon. Jesus told me.”

“Jesus was here? I didn’t see Him.”

“He was in my dream.” Tamara wriggled with excitement as she pulled her tunic on.

“Oh.” Sarah tried to put some excitement into her voice, but she felt disappointed. Dreams meant nothing to her, but she couldn’t tell Tamara that. Let the child have her hopes and dreams. Adulthood and dreams’ disappointments came far too soon, anyhow.

“He said to tell you not to worry, too,” Tamara said. “When is ‘soon?’”

Sarah started—was this in answer to her worryings last night? Did that mean don’t worry about Paul, or don’t worry about Tamara, or both?

Sarah smiled. “If you can tell me what ‘soon’ means, you’re way ahead of me. And I’ll try to stop worrying—but mamas have to worry all the time about something, right? Shall we see if we can talk the chickens into giving us some more eggs?” She held her hand out to Tamara.

“‘K,” Tamara said, holding her mama’s hand. “Is that grouchy old rooster going to chase me again?”

“If he does, we might invite him for dinner!” Sarah laughed.

“Yum!” Tamara giggled.

They went into the courtyard, looking through the bushes and came up with enough eggs to feed the whole family and all of the help as well. Sarah wasn’t worried about taking too many—there were plenty of chicks this year, almost half-grown now, and next year there would be many more eggs from the pullets. The rooster appeared to be looking for bugs for breakfast, and he totally ignored the humans in “his” section of the yard.

When they walked into the cooking area, Dorcas stood waiting for them. She knelt down and looked closely at Tamara. “How are you, little one? Do you feel better this morning?”

“I’m all better,” Tamara said. “Jesus said my Papa is coming soon. Have you seen him yet?”

“Who is Jesus?” Dorcas asked, glancing at Sarah.

“He’s a very nice Man. Sometimes He holds me when I’m sick, and in my dream this morning He said my Papa is coming home soon.”

Dorcas nodded. “Dreams are very nice, aren’t they? Well, I hope your Friend is right.” She winked at Sarah. “It would be wonderful if your Papa came home soon.” Dorcas stood. “I need to go wake the children. I’m getting hungry, so I’ll go and you can get our breakfast ready.”

Sarah mixed the eggs with some butter and some onions from the garden. The family seemed to love the treat, and Dorcas complimented Sarah on the flavors. “I don’t know how you come up with these unusual dishes, Sarah, but you are the best cook in Phoenicia.”

Sarah smiled and nodded at the compliment, picked up the remains of the meal and started to go back to the cooking area to clean up.

Martha burst into the room. “I’m sorry to interrupt your meal, Madam,” she said to Dorcas, “but you must come quickly. You, too, Sarah and Tamara!” She bustled back toward the open door.