Friday, February 3, 2012
Fiction Friday, ONE MORE TIME, Chapter 35
Jonas took Bildad's list to Dorcas’s house, and together with Dorcas, Paul, and Sarah noted all the names from Tyre. As they suspected, Mariah and Hamath were named.
“Do you really think this slaver will turn these people loose? What if no tragedies occur as promised?” she asked. “What will you do, follow him, count the people turned loose, and take revenge for those not turned loose?”
“That won’t be necessary, Dorcas,” Paul said. “Any bad thing that occurs to him now he’ll count as part of his punishment. He’s so superstitious some things will happen because he’ll make mistakes.”
“My wife’s name is way down at the bottom of this long list—if that’s her. Mariah is a common name. After all this time, I’m afraid to hope,” Jonas said, staring at his shaking hands. “Even if it is her, how would he be able to free her? He has probably sold her to someone else by now. And if she were freed, would she come back to us, or would she feel too ashamed—slavers aren’t kind and considerate to their captives, particularly women who can be used in ways that I’d rather not think about.”
“Jonas,” Sarah said softly, “All these years you have hoped and prayed that your wife would be found and that she’d return to you. You can’t stop praying and hoping now. Your prayer should be all the more fervent now.”
Jonas laid his head on his arms and began to sob, his shoulders shaking.
Dorcas reached out a hand and touched one elbow.
On Jonas’ other side, Paul put his arm around Jonas's shoulders. “Dear God, You know I hadn't been one to pray much, and I think this might be the first favor I’ve ever asked of You. Please, please, send Jonas’s wife and Hamath back to their waiting families.”
When Jonas had wept himself dry, he raised his gaze to his friends. “Thank you, my friends. I think I must now go back to the marketplace. People will be wondering if I’ve died and left my business to Dathan.” He took one last swipe at his eyes with his sleeve, bowed his farewell, and left.
Sarah walked in silence toward the kitchen, thoughtful about the events of the past few days.
Tamara met her mother at the entryway. “Mama,” she said, tugging at her mother’s tunic, “Why was Jonas sad?”
Sarah knelt in front of her. “Sometimes people cry because they have postponed crying for a long time—it just kind of builds up inside until it has to come out. Sometimes people cry because they are happy, and sometimes it’s because they’re sad. I think maybe Jonas was crying because he had postponed it for a very long time. His wife disappeared a long, long time ago, and now there’s a chance she might be able to come home.”
“My Papa came home. I’m going to ask Jesus to bring Jonas’ wife home, too. Jonas and Dathan must be lonesome without her, just like we were lonesome without Papa.”
“That would be nice, Tammy. That would be just the right thing to do, in fact. Maybe while you’re at it, you could also ask for Hamath to come home.”
Tamara squeezed her eyes and lips tight. “There, I did it,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
Sarah smiled as she went on into the cooking area. The meal wouldn’t take long to prepare, serve, and clean up. That would leave her time to go to their house and do a bit of praying herself. Surely one more prayer couldn’t hurt.
There was considerable cause for rejoicing in the town over the next weeks. People who had been missing, some for many years, kept showing up. So far, Hamath and Mariah were still among the missing, but there had been an even two dozen people who were on Bildad’s list who had returned thus far. Word came from Sidon from Martha’s sister as well, saying missing people had reappeared.