Friday, November 18, 2011
FICTION FRIDAY: One More Time, Chapter 26 - Curiosity
Sarah fixed the mid-day meal, humming and smiling. She was alternately joyous over Paul’s return and empathethic because Dorcas's husband did not return with Paul. She decided to go see Jonas after the meal, although she still hadn’t thought of an explanation that would suffice for all the people who had seen Paul suddenly appear. She should take Paul along, maybe he could think of something.
Dorcas came into the cooking area, glancing around before she spoke. “Sarah,” she said, “You weren’t a servant in this future time, were you? Nor Paul, either?”
“No, Madam. But we both had employers, which is somewhat similar.”
“Do you resent that you’re servants here?” she asked.
“Oh, no, Madam, I don’t, especially not in working for you. And I’m sure Paul agrees.”
“But there are no ... ah, cars, did you call them? here, nor can you talk to people far away. Do you miss having these cars and talking things? I suppose there are other things that are not here and now, too. Could you tell me more about this future time?”
“Yes, I do miss cars and telephones and other things sometimes, especially when I was so frantic about Paul’s disappearance and wanted to be able to find him. I can tell you more,” Sarah said, “but if you talk about this to your friends, they might think you were drunk. Or that you were crazy for believing such a fantastic story.”
Dorcas nodded. “I can understand how they would be disbelieving. No, I have no intention of spreading this news. I still find it astonishing.”
Sarah smiled. “I do, too. All day the first day, I thought I must be dreaming. With Tamara here, though, I didn’t want to wake up. I don’t think it’s a dream any more, but I still don’t wish to wake up.” She smiled wider, then brought her hand to her mouth. “Oh, no. I just thought of something. Is Martha still here? I hope she has not gone to the marketplace or been talking to the other servants about this.”
“That’s a good thought, Sarah. I’ll go find her now,” she said, turning to go—then she turned back. “Perhaps this afternoon or tomorrow you’d tell me more about this future time?"
“Whenever you’d like, Madam.”
Paul walked into the cooking area and saw Dorcas. “I’m ‘remembering’ more about my life here, Dorcas—-I mean Madam. I’m your servant, a handyman, correct?”
Dorcas's eyebrows lifted. “If you mean a person who performs a wide variety of repairs and constructions, yes.”
“Well, I noticed the gate in the back of this courtyard is pulling away from the wall at the top. Perhaps that should be my first item of work.”
“Perhaps,” Dorcas said. “What did you do in your other life?”
“I was a counselor and professor—a teacher” he said. “I taught languages and I counseled students who were having problems.”
“Ah, how perfect. Sarah has been picking up lessons from Jonas—yes, Sarah, I knew, but I liked the initiative you took to get more information, so I said nothing. And the children are getting beyond what Sarah can teach them. She’s been teaching them Greek.”
Sarah felt her face warming.
Dorcas grinned. “No matter, Sarah, the point is you have been teaching them, and doing it well.”
“I kept wishing Paul were here—I stumbled along, with Jonas’ help, of course. Speaking of Jonas, Madam, I thought he might be a good resource to find Hamath. Jonas has so many contacts among the merchants, we can probably send word across all of Phoenicia, Canaan, Judea, and perhaps beyond even those countries. I’d also like to take Paulos along, just to put to rest some of the gossip monger’s tales.”
“Jonas might be a good resource, and yes, you should take Paulos along,” Dorcas said. “Meanwhile, please inform Paulos about where you are with the children’s lessons while you fix this meal, and I’ll go to find Martha and ensure that she doesn’t chatter with her friends about all these happenings.”
Dorcas found Martha sitting on a bench in the courtyard with her mouth pursed and her eyebrows scrunched together, her arms across her chest. Dorcas chuckled to herself. She’d wager it was a little late to find Martha before she started spreading the news.
“Martha, I must caution you not to talk to your friends about this story about Paulos and Sarah. In the worst case, you could be responsible for their arrest. But even that doesn’t happen, your friends will at least think you have been having hallucinations, if not gone totally insane.”
“Yes Madam,” Martha responded, blushing. “That is exactly what happened. They think that I’ve been drinking much wine or that Paulos and Sarah have been teasing me with some fantastic story. I’ve been much embarrassed this morning, and I’ll speak no more about it.”
“Exactly, Martha. Because, if you can’t cease speaking of this to your friends, I might have to have you put into prison. I don’t want to do that.” Dorcas knew Martha well—she had good intentions and was goodhearted, but sometimes her lips overflowed with her thoughts.
Martha blanched. “Oh, no, Madam! I swear I’ll never say another word!”
Dorcas believed her. “Good. Because you’re an excellent housekeeper, I’d be sorry to lose you. I’m quite fond of you, you know; you’re among my favorites.” It never hurt to add a little encouragement along with the chastising.