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 I'll See You Again (Ariel)
Ariel bar Shlomo
Posted: Feb 18 2012, 03:01 PM

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Posts: 45
Member No.: 7
Joined: 2-December 11

Ariel simply listened to her story. Her parents were definitely richer than his own, and if she was an only child… it made sense somehow. He had also heard about women having to manage the household during the long absence of their husbands, if they were merchants. It made sense.

“You are appealing no matter if you can read or not,” he told her with a loving smile. “But I like the fact that you can read. I will think about you, and I will translate for you in Hebrew the Egyptian poems I have heard or seen. You will have something to read and you will know that I have been thinking of you.”

She didn’t speak Egyptian too well, and Hebrew was the language they shared, their common roots. Offering her some poems to read when lonely was a good idea.

She had been loved and spoiled, then she became a slave and she got abused like most slaves were. Now, that she was swallowing the tears in her voice, he got closer again, to wipe with his kisses the ones in her eyes.

“Don’t cry now! I can’t wipe your tears when it will be dark and you’ll feel lonely, but at least don’t cry now.”

She smiled as an answer, saying that both he and her child would love her stories.

“Yes, they do. And I’d love to listen to them some day too… having you in my arms and knowing that I don’t have to let you go anymore.”

Then Rivkah told him that she would have given him everything she had.

“Your prayers will meet mine, and they are more than enough. Your thoughts, your prayers, your love, your sweet kisses… what would I want more? You gave me everything, indeed, and I offered you mine. I put all my love in writing the amulet… and all my persuasion in convincing the potter to bake it for me, together with his pots,” he smiled when remembering that it had not been easy.

Now, something else was hurting him: the knowledge that he had to bid her good bye soon, and to leave her. He couldn't abuse the priestesses' patience... it would reflect on her.

“If you are Rivkah, then should I be Isaac and wait for you at the fountain?” Ariel tried to joke at her words that he gave her back her name. “I wish I had to be Isaac and not Jacob… but you are worth the waiting and the effort, exactly how Rachel was.”

"Hopefully we won't have to wait so much time"
Posted: Feb 18 2012, 04:48 PM

Rivkah Nafretiri Bat Menachem

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Posts: 92
Member No.: 1
Joined: 6-June 11

"In all honesty, if we had a fountain, that would be easier! I too don't want to abuse their patience. But I'll tell you what. Temple servants have to buy things too, because I have rarely seen the priestesses leave, unless it was an absolute emergency. This being the temple of Isis, many of them are midwives, and so too with the temples of Hathor and Tawaret. I have to get incense, bells, makeup pots, that sort of thing. Oh! I don't have something to say I'm from Isis' temple. Well I suppose I will have to get that. Which amulets are hers? We will meet in the bazaar next time, and you can tell me. If not for their usefulness, the amulets are certainly interesting enough for their variety!" She stroked his amulet, now around her neck, with her finger. "But this one is the most special of all, because you made it, and because I have only seen it on the very ill and could not get close enough to read it. But you knew what it said, and no one else told me but you. But I will not be so afraid now, now that I have somewhere to return to. And I could never be afraid as long as you were there with me. That goes for anywhere." She could only look at him with love in her eyes now, love of the purest kind because it was her first and her only and would never be tainted by anything.

"Do you know what is the one thing I've never had? Never, not even once? A pet. And I have heard that the cats here are most protective of pregnant women...which seems to make sense as I see others being followed around by them. I wish I had a cat to protect me, for when you cannot...." But she sighed. It would probably be all just a lovely dream and something that would never happen for her, even though it was not the request of a spoiled brat. Not that Rivkah had ever been a brat, but she knew others who had.

"But never mind that. I don't even know where the thought came from., based on my first one. Shall we meet in another 3 days, in the afternoon, by one of the amulet tables in the bazaar? I can ask one of the priestesses for some money, as they will understand why I need an Isis amulet. Maybe you even make them," she said with a wink, "and my money will go to a good cause."
Ariel bar Shlomo
Posted: Feb 19 2012, 08:11 AM

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Joined: 2-December 11

Ariel smiled at her innocent outburst, then the smile widened into a grin. He hadn’t thought about the market… It was a good idea indeed! He will be able to see her soon…

“I’ll help you with Isis’s knot, or buckle. This is the amulet you need… not only to show that you belong to Her, but also… it says it helps a woman. And you are right, it is just a red stone to look prettier at your neck… But anything which can protect you is not to be overlooked.”

He blushed when she said that the amulet he made was the most special, and when she said that she could never be afraid as long as he was there to protect her, his heart jumped with pride, if it was not enough that it beated quicker anyway with love. The same feeling he could read in her eyes… A hand calloused by work got to caress her cheek, instead of any answer he could have given her.

What association did this gentle caress raise in her mind? Did his caress feel as if she was a kitten, or what? He chuckled.

“Cats are sacred here. They are the goddess Bastet’s servants. You have heard that they are protective of pregnant women because Bastet is one of the goddesses of fertility and motherhood. You would be somehow under her protection too. You know that if you weren’t accepted here, I was willing to accompany you to the temples of Bastet and Hathor.”

If she wanted one, he was determined to find her a kitten. Not for next time when they see each other, but for a next visit to the temple. She was right, this would distract her and would make her feel less lonely. Besides him, there would be somebody else to care for her… to need her.

His smile went wider at her sly proposal. He hadn’t thought of this…

“Be sure that I hardly wait to see you again. And yes, I’ll be there… But please don’t ask anybody for money. I will write something on a knot of Isis to offer you as an amulet, without you needing to humiliate yourself in asking for money and risking a reprimand instead.”

The wink made her even more appealing… Oh, how he’d hold her, kiss her and never let her go from his arms! But life was how it was, and this was only a dream for now…
Posted: Feb 20 2012, 06:05 AM

Rivkah Nafretiri Bat Menachem

Group: Admin
Posts: 92
Member No.: 1
Joined: 6-June 11

"A red stone? I always did like red," she admitted. She was not quite able to explain why, but it was something she'd seen, a writing, and somehow without meaning to, she quoted it.

"A worthy woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
And he shall have no lack of gain.
She doeth him good and not evil all the days of her life."

(From The Hebrew Translation of Proverbs 31 )

She took a deep breath before continuing. "If I am hopefully to be worth more than rubies to you someday- as your wife- then I have to have a red stone as a symbol of something I have to aim towards and above. And if Isis likes red then so be it!"

She smiled a little sadly when he told her not to worry about asking for money. "Once again you are right. It was only an idea. I should learn to tell my ideas to shut up in my head before they speak words in my mouth. Somehow I thought being a temple servant would have more freedom. Yet what am I thinking, wanting to spend their money, even if I do have need? You are right that they would probably scold me. It's only that I thought I'd be... well, more free than I am, and then I'd help you, and then you'd be free. Perhaps I don't understand very much about my situation-and I guess it's to be expected, even though I feel like an idiot- but I do understand that I love you."

And I get scared when you're not here to chase the nightmares away.... But somehow she couldn't add that last sentence. It would only perhaps hurt him more when he had to leave her. But she still thought it. She couldn't wait to see him again, and he had not even left yet!

"Very well then, I will bring no money. I can hardly wait the three days! But I know it must be done. They consider my love for you understandable, I think, but we can't have them thinking you are the father. We must be careful, until you are free, anyway."
Ariel bar Shlomo
Posted: Feb 21 2012, 07:04 PM

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Member No.: 7
Joined: 2-December 11

Ariel’s eyes sparkled differently when Rivkah started singing the Shabbat song about the woman of valour. It brought to him so many memories from his past, round the Shabbat table with his parents and siblings, he, the older boy, being asked to say the prayers just to be sure he wouldn’t mess them up in the Synagogue at the ceremony… A ceremony which never came. Egyptian raiders came instead.

This was one of Rivkah’s many charms – she was like him, they had so much in common… a whole world to pin after. And it made sense, within this comparison, to like red because it was the colour of the ruby a worthy woman was compared to.

“I said a red stone, but it is not a ruby,” he said. “The knot of Isis is carved of red jasper stone. I am glad you like it.”

Then, with a kinder smile, he added:

“You are a worthy woman, Rivkah! Even if our house won’t ever be as rich as the one in the song.”

When she agreed with him, showing rather harshly on herself, Ariel shook his head:

“It is better to express it than to keep it for yourself. Yes, you have more freedom than a slave. Still, you haven’t earned your coins yet, so… better don’t push it. You are helping me by praying for me, and I’ll take the coins from other people who have more than we do, not from you. And if you are waiting for me, this is a sort of helping too, that I know I am not alone anymore.”

As she confessed again her love for him, after enough not so good words, he couldn’t help hugging her again.

“You understand enough things, and you shouldn’t feel stupid. And yes, I understand I love you too,” he whispered in her ear, kissing her one more time.

And indeed, the reminder was helpful… the reality was different than their dreams:

“I hope to be his father some day… and to teach him to write and to pray.”
Posted: Feb 27 2012, 04:47 AM

Rivkah Nafretiri Bat Menachem

Group: Admin
Posts: 92
Member No.: 1
Joined: 6-June 11

"It could be a girl you know." Nafretiri smiled at his dreaming. But then her eyes darkened with repressed fear."Not that I would love a son any less, but I am afraid- a little- that a boy could look like...him, and then I'd be reminded for the rest of my life." Somehow, she managed to say this without her voice catching, if only because she wanted him to dream a little and not worry about her."I love you, and I'm sure, boy or girl, that our child will be loved by you. I would rather a son have your blood inside him, but...it is not my place to say, only God's. And He knows best. It is only that I wish I knew why He allowed this. Did my parents sin? Did I sin? And now that it's too late and I can't make retribution, does it still matter to Him? What if- what if I don't matter to Him, or we don't, either of us? The very idea fills me with fear. Tell me something, Ariel. Did you ever question why God had allowed you to become a slave, and if so, did you ever find an answer?" She could have held him to her, she was so desperate, as if their embrace would give her answers, but instead she just looked at him pleadingly.

Her rather unplanned outburst over, Nafretiri took a few minutes to calm herself.

"I'm sorry. I didn't know I still had so much fear and anger inside. What would you teach him? Perhaps he'd be a great poet, like Solomon."

The Song of Solomon was her favorite passage, and somehow the image of a son captivating women with words of love and beauty instead of with force and shame comforted her. She would rather a son have Ariel's blood, but perhaps the influence he would have on the child was enough.
Ariel bar Shlomo
Posted: Mar 3 2012, 10:06 AM

Advanced Member

Group: Members
Posts: 45
Member No.: 7
Joined: 2-December 11

When she answered that it could be a girl, his first comment was:

“Not bad at all, a girl as beautiful as you are!”

Then, he listened to her point.

“You can’t think of that for the rest of your life, Rivkah! No child in this world looks only like the father. All children are a mix of traits from both parents, or sometimes from grandparents too. And, no matter who had sired your child, the baby is yours not only by our law, but by the mere fact that you are carrying the baby inside you, you are giving birth in pain to bring your baby to life, you are the one nursing and taking care of your baby,” he tried to appease her fears. “You surely would see only the child who had been kicking your belly and who smiled to you a few days after being born…”

When she said that he would love the child, no matter the gender, Ariel nodded affirmatively.

“Of course I will love a pretty girl as much as a strong boy. I grew up with several siblings and a house full of children is a blessing… for a free man,” he added the last part bitterly.

A slave’s children were only an asset for the master, who could separate families as he pleased.

“I want a son from you some day, our son, indeed, if God allows it,” he replied, caressing her cheek. “And a daughter too.”

They were strangely dreaming about children of their own, when they had barely met, but two lonely souls had just found their common language, and the revelation was strong. Ariel couldn’t know that for Rivkah, the state of spirit brought by pregnancy included the need for comfort, safety and love, neither that some pregnant women were more lustful than before, while others didn’t look at any men at all while with child. He couldn’t understand even his own need for a proper family, rather stronger than the need for love, as it was intertwined with his dreams of freedom.

His smile got even bitterer when the discussion took another path. She looked at him pleadingly, as if Ariel had all the answers in this world, but he had none. Her tried to remember what the Holy Scriptures said about humans and God.

“God knows best, and He pays for sins even after generations, you know this. Only He knows why He allowed this to us. Maybe it was for our ancestors’ sins, maybe for ours added to theirs. But we do matter to God, all of us. It is one of the Psalms, I don’t remember which one*, which says:
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honour.

But, Rivkah, if you remember Joseph’s story, and Job’s story, God allowed them to suffer only to redeem them and make them happier afterwards. This can be an answer too, and we should hope to be this our own answer. If you recall the Genesis, we are His own image and blessing: So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them.”

It gave her the answer about him too. He believed in Joseph, in Job, in Daniel who had been a slave to the Babylonian emperor, everything in their lives had a purpose. They were tested and they didn’t lose faith. And because he didn’t know better how to silence her fears and to calm her outburst, he kissed her again – a long, passionate kiss, until he felt her relaxed in his arms and all the anger gone.

When she apologized and tried to change the subject, he only smiled.

“It is normal to have anger and fear inside. And speaking them off, helps in getting rid of them. Having them kissed off, might help too,” he chuckled, almost as a teasing, but not really a teasing. “As for a son of yours… he might be a great poet, or if not, at least a good scribe. I would teach him to fear and pray to our God, even if we lived here, among those who believe in other Gods. And everything needed for a proper man. You will be teaching your daughters to be women of valour too.”

It was a good, sunny life to dream about… What else remained to them than dream? And maybe say good bye for now… but obviously none of them two was willing to get separated from the other.

* Psalm 8
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