Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Back to the book...Heading Out on the Wagon

Heinrich turned onto Dresdener Street as the rising sun reddened the undersides of the clouds. The birds were welcoming the day as the cool mist of the morning slowly dissipated. But Heinrich wasn’t able to feel the freshness of the day because the intersection from his dream lay ahead. It took a few minutes to get there. Heinrich held his breath as they went through the intersection but to his relief nothing happened and they continued on as the extent of Wittenberg receded behind them. He was looking forward to unveiling Rebekah when the time was right.

The wagon rolled along with the horse’s syncopated gait as they made their way through eastern Saxony. The fields and trees were turning green in this agrarian spring landscape. An occasional building marked the edge of a farm or estate. It was relatively quiet with little traffic; no doubt because it was just after sunrise on a Sunday, when only those obligated to farm chores were seen. Finally they came to a clearing where all that could be seen were trees and fields. Heinrich pulled back on the reins and the horses came to a halt. The country air was quiet except for natural sounds as Heinrich turned and announced, “All is clear Rebekah, you can come out.” The tarp buckled as Rebekah maneuvered herself free of its constraints. A free hand peeled back enough of the canvas to allow her head and shoulders to emerge. She was sitting with her legs sprawled around the narrow cavity when Heinrich grasped Rebekah’s hand. With this anchor she pulled herself up and groaned a bit as a leg cramp freed itself. “Well, I’m glad to be out of there!” Sarah moved over and made way for Rebekah to go on the other side of Heinrich. The extra blankets were in use but the need for a top hadn’t materialized yet; it was overcast with a slight wind. Heinrich flipped the reins to pick up the pace since he knew there were many more miles to go.

Not much was said during the first few minutes.  Everyone felt relieved - until they thought of the departure at the end. But that gave them urgency to add to their memories. Heinrich spoke first, “Rebekah, what will you be doing when you get back home? And how can we communicate with each other?” First things first, thought Rebekah, “I’ll have to assess the situation; it’s been three weeks since I left. My mother is able to take care of herself; still, I have spent a lot of time with her and my absence has probably been hard on her. Since father’s story got out, it’s been hard for her to live a normal Jewish life. She is happy for me to be there, but I remind her of the predicament she’s in because I’m sympathetic to it. I have a few friends, mostly girls, but only a few really know my story. I have acquaintances with a few men, but none that are serious.” She detected a slight sense of concern at the last comment, so she looked at Heinrich and said, “Don’t worry, I don’t have anyone in my life like you, and it’ll be interesting to see how I adjust my thinking because of you. As to communication, I could send letters written in code and you could use the dial to decipher them!” She was being facetious but, on further thought, wondered if it might come down to that. Heinrich thought it might be kind of fun, straining through messages from Rebekah, one letter at a time. She replied, “Is communicating via letters even safe? I do have access to some trusted couriers; that may be the only way.” 

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