The Pledge (29)

Happy Saturday. Below is the next installment of The Pledge. If you’re just joining us, you can click here to read from the beginning. Thanks for stopping by my blog.


Tamar doesn’t even pretend to listen. After hearing Judah say Shelah was still too young, she knows what will follow: she would go back to her father’s house. She would wear her widow’s garments yet again. Part of her is relieved, not to have to wed again so soon, but this means she will have to endure the looks and snide remarks of the women at the well and the town square until Shelah is old enough to take her.

Punishment for killing her husbands.

But perhaps it would be worth it this time. Shelah was still young, still soft. Everything she imagined Er once was. The union might be forced, but it could still be a happy one. Naively perhaps, but she still wanted that happy life she once envisioned as a younger woman. A husband to serve. Children to fill her bosom. That’s it.

A husband to serve and children to fill her bosom, Tamar reminds herself as her brother pulls up in a wagon. He has an annoyed expression on his face and she knows her father had sent him to get her – probably to avoid the shame of picking up his cursed daughter.

He stops in front of her.

“Killed another one, did you?” His tone is heavy with sarcasm. But he doesn’t look at her. No one does any more.

Tamar doesn’t respond. What could she say if even her brother, her family didn’t side with her?

“Well, come on with you,” he tells her as he steps down to load up her belongings. They weren’t much, but she still needed his help. “Let’s get this done before the hens come out to peck.”

Instinctively, Tamar looked about. The mourners were gone and none of Alit’s gossipping friends were about. But they would be soon, she supposed. Who could pass this moment up, to be the one to say the saw the witch go home?

Tamar rises, before her brother has to speak to her again and throws her bundle in the wagon. She accepts his hand as he helps her up and sits stoically waiting for him to join her.

Well, not really stoically. She looks into the doorway of the house she shared with Er and Onan. Five, six years and not even one member of the family was there to bid her goodbye. Tamar can’t stop the tear as it escapes. Ashamed of herself for showing that kind of weakness, that kind of emotion, though, she quickly wipes it away and reminds herself it will be just a few years before she gets a husband to serve and children to fill her bosom.

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