Full of Grace (17)

Greetings readers,

Below is the next section of Full of Grace. I was able to get halfway into the scene, despite having spent an hour trying to put on three new pairs of  screw earrings, cooking dinner, getting the house ready for my stepson’s summer visit and being distracted by a really bad movie. I’ll finish the rest of chapter in tomorrow’s post. 

* * *

29 Iyar

The sun streams in through the window. Mary opens her eyes, feeling the warmth on her face. She looks around briefly, confused: the room she shares with her brother and sisters has no window…

This isn’t your room, that’s why, she reminds herself, and closes her eyes, remembering now she was in Elizabeth’s house. This was to be her home for the better part of the next year. Mary had explained everything to her aunt the previous evening, anxious to get it out of her heart. Elizabeth, though, simply offered her a warm smile and told her she was welcome to stay.

With a sigh, Mary rises from her mat. Her stomach growls – between the anxiety and the traveling, she had barely eaten this past week. But her appetite was back and now she was ready to eat. Mary washes her face in the water bowl set aside for her and exits the room. She makes her way downstairs, expecting to find the hustle and bustle she is use to with three younger siblings, but there’s no one there. The house is quiet.

She looks around. The place is bigger than her own home – it is bigger than Joseph’s house. Her uncle was not wealthy, but as a priest, he was taken care of. He was blessed and that counted more.

Mary peers into her aunt and uncle’s room, but it’s empty. She goes outside and walks around the house to the back, where she finds Elizabeth sitting in her garden, tilling it and pulling out weeds. Elizabeth looks up as she approaches and smiles.

“How did you sleep, my dear?” she asks.

Mary takes a seat beside her.

“Good, though you should have woken me up earlier. I never sleep this late.”

“You were tired. You need your rest now more than ever,” Elizabeth gently reminds her.

Mary nods, knowing she is right. After a full-night’s rest, she feels refreshed and renewed.

“Have you eaten? I left a plate for you on the table.”

“No, not yet.”

“Well, come on,” Elizabeth says, reaching over to her. Mary allows the older woman to lean on her while she rises. Her belly seems bigger now that she is standing above her, and Mary can’t help but wonder if she will look like that in a few months’ time.

“Are you coming?”

Mary meets her gaze and realizes she was staring. She stands up and follows Elizabeth into the house, where she points her to the table. Mary sits while her aunt pours her a cup of milk. She notes her uncle’s absence and asks, “Where is Dod Zechariah?”

Elizabeth sits down across from her and offers her a tired smile.

“At the synagogue. Studying. Reading the Torah.”

Imma said he was senile.”

Elizabeth chuckles and sits back, her arms resting on her belly.

“It’s good to know the gossip circles are still turning strong. And your mother knows better than to believe everything she hears.” The humor in her voice has not faded, but there was something of a reprimand in her words.

“Is that why you didn’t say anything about being with child?” Mary asks, the food on her plate still untouched.

Elizabeth points to her plate and says, “I’ll answer your questions, just eat. I don’t want to send you back to your mother, emaciated.”

Mary obeys and starts with a fig. The fruit tastes good on her tongue and fills her belly.

“Good,” her aunt states, satisfied. “Now, to your questions. Let’s start with your uncle…”

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