Part 160

Part the One Hundred Sixtieth: The People Chosen

 

 

It seemed to take forever, the moment between Hope realizing that his man was holding her hands softly, palms to backs, and when he finally realized he should stop, taking them away.

 

“My pardon, I didn’t- I mean, I…” he said.

 

“No, no, that is quite understandable,” she replied.  “Your scroll, your…

 

Mezuzah.  It’s our blessing we have on the door, the Shema Yisrael.

 

“Oh?  I’m not familiar with that custom.”

 

“Ah…  Yes, the hair, of course,” he said as he moved a candle closer to see her.

 

“My hair?”

 

“Blonde.  Yes, definitely Gentile.”

 

“Excuse me?” she replied.

 

“No offense meant, of course.  Just an observation, is all.”

 

Samuel, are usted – Y quien está esto?” the voice of the woman Hope heard earlier rang out.

 

Hope turned to see her enter the room, a woman with wisps of gray hair peeking out from her head covering around her darkened face.

 

“Mama, she helped me make sure the mezuzah was safe.  I invited her in.  And por Angles, por favor, por nuestro empresas, Mama.”

 

“New land, new tongue…” she descended into muttering, her hand rolling.

 

“Please forgive her,” he said.  “She still wishes she were back in Cadiz.  The complaints at times, well…”

 

“Cadiz,” Hope asked, “the Spanish port?”

 

“So much warmer, so much sweeter,” the mother complained.  “You would have loved it there,” she said to her son.

 

He turned to Hope and said, “My parents left before I was born.  They ended up in Amsterdam after-”

 

“So cold, so wet,” his mother chimed in.  “They say I should be grateful to be alive, I’m grateful I stayed dry.”

 

He sighed.  “So when the Lord Protector offered those willing a chance to come to the New World, we came here.”

 

“So far away from everything; ayyye-”

 

“Mama!”

 

“Such is our lot,” she said with a weary complaining voice.  “Yes, we’re the Chosen People, chosen to keep moving our tahath all over-”

 

“Mama… Please forgive her, she’s-”

 

“Oh, no, no need,” said Hope, trying to hide her smile despite herself.  “I know well what it is like to lose everything.”

 

“Oh?  Did your family lose a venture as well?”

 

“Um, something like that.  I’m Hope.”

 

“Samuel de Cadiz, at your service,” he said with a slight bow.

 

“Charmed.  I’m sorry those roughs threw stones at your house.”

 

“We’re used to it.  More of it’s jealousy than hatred, thanks to our success in-”

 

Charity and Goddard appeared at the transom.  “They were very quick,” Charity stated, “so the one we didn’t get may be back later.”

 

“Ayye, these roughs,” said Samuel.  “More of a nuisance than a threat.”

 

“And the one that didn’t get away?” Hope asked with trepidation.

 

“No, he was able to walk away afterwards,” Charity replied.  “He stopped me before I could do too much to him,” she elbowed Goddard.

 

All eyes turned to Goddard, who was looking around the house.

 

He turned to Samuel and said, “Shalom.

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All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan

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