This excerpt is one of my two favorite, mostly because of the secondary characters and relationships. These don’t often get the same attention as the main characters but they can be just as fun to write. Enjoy. If you’re just joining us, you go here to read from the beginning. Thanks for stopping by.
* * *
With every step they take, Heli wonders why he didn’t drop Nathan off at home after leaving the synagogue. The boy had a habit of talking a lot when it was just them, which puzzled him greatly since he was usually quiet at home. Whatever the reason, Nathan took no notice as Heli veered off the path they usually took, headed now towards the western side of the market, where Joseph’s shop was located. Anna had shared her concerns about Mary and Joseph and had asked him to speak to Joseph. Though he talked to Joseph often enough at the synagogue, he thought it would be best to speak to him at his shop today, knowing they would not be able to find any privacy otherwise. People liked to talk and though it pained him to hear what was being said of his daughter and son-in-law, he knew there was nothing he could do to sway public opinion.
Heli looks down at his son, who stares up at him with expectancy on his face, a face that reminded him of Anna, with her deep, dark eyes and soft features. Not knowing the question Nathan had posed of him, Heli simply says, “UhHuh.”
“Don’t say ‘UhHuh.’ I know you weren’t listening. Where are we going, by the way? Home is back the other way and I’m hungry. Do you think Imma will make her sweet bread this morning? Hopefully Kyla will leave me some. She always eats most of it and Oprah…”
Heli smiles, even as he groans. Nathan doesn’t notice though and continues talking as they wander through the marketplace already bustling with life, past the vendors selling their various wares and arrive at the carpentry shop. It was a small building, modest in appearance, which was adjacent to the stables and the farrier, who was a man of few words.
“Do you think Joseph will let me carve something?”
Heli nods, thinking it would be a good distraction for the boy. He opens the door and ushers his son in front of him before entering. Joseph and Silas are already at work.
“Shalom,” Joseph greets them.
Nathan approaches Joseph’s work table, his eyes filled with wonder and fascination. Sitting on the table are several wooden toys – a cart, a horse and a little boy, all exact replicas of their larger models.
“You made those?” he asks, gently handling the cart.
“Silas and I did,” Joseph replies proudly.
Nathan says nothing else, taking turns admiring each piece. Heli chuckles to see the boy finally speechless.
“So are you just visiting or can I help you with something, Heli?” Joseph inquires after a moment.
“Visiting. Wanted to check up on my favorite son-in-law,” Heli replies, tongue-in-cheek, his eyes still on Nathan. Then he turns to Silas and asks, “Perhaps you can take Nathan next door to the farrier to see the horses.”
Silas concurs, even as Joseph’s demeanor changes, something akin to curiosity and tension.