24 Iyar (April)

With quiet resignation…Mary folds her other dress and carefully packs it into her personal basket, while her abba gathers provisions for the trip and her imma selects gifts for her aunt.

With quiet resignation…The once mirthful Oprah and Kyra sit quietly by the door, playing with their dolls. The joy that filled the house earlier left with Mary’s announcement a week prior.

With quiet resignation…Mary sighs and sits down on her mat. Her eyes sting with each tear she sheds. She doesn’t want to go to Hebron, but she cannot disobey her parents. Even if they don’t believe her. Their distrust of her weighs heavy on her, but the fact that they won’t let her see Joseph hurts even more. She was just supposed to go, have her child and come back as though none of it happened. Let her “pious aunt“, her mother had said, raise the babe.

Joachim enters the room. Mary quickly wipes the tears from her face.

“Are you ready?” he asks. His voice is low, tired, and there are bags under his eyes. The sorrow in his stature is unmistakable. He has not been sleeping.

No one has.

“Don’t make me go, abba,” she begs.

Joachim sits beside her and maintains eye contact with her.

“You understand why we’re doing this, don’t you?”

She nods, crying once more.

“But I did nothing wrong,” she insists.

He looks down but doesn’t say anything. A single tear runs down his face as he takes her hands in his.

“Mary, please tell me,” he says, straining to keep his voice steady. “Tell me…Joseph is the father?”

She slowly pulls her hands out of his. She knew where he stood in this situation – it just hurt each time she was reminded how neither he, nor her mother believed her.

Mary looks down at her hands and says no more.

“Mary…,” her abba begins, but there is nothing else.

With quiet resignation…Joachim rises from the mat and murmurs, “Let’s go.”

With quiet resignation…Mary follows.

* * *

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