Out of exhaustion, Esther’s eyes had finally surrendered to sleep when a sudden cry woke her up. At first, she wondered where it was coming from. But as her eyes settled on the unfamiliar room, she knew it was just little Arieh. Her little cousin was just a couple of months old. So, it was sort of a miracle that he hadn’t spent the whole night crying. But, it wouldn’t have mattered anyways.
A tingling feeling of excitement crept through her veins and kept her wide awake. As if there was a devil trapped inside of her, she kept swiveling under the thin bed sheet, all night, utterly unable to relax. And, the fact that she felt like an intruder didn’t help.
She sat up and absently stared at the walls. The suns arrays were crawling in through the open window, slowly illuminating the guest room as if they expected a wretched witch hid in the darkness. The sun’s soldiers had reached Esther’s bare feet. And as if they feared for this gentle princess, they summoned their courage and quickly conquered the rest of the room. They found no lurking monster, but then again, they hadn’t ventured inside the other rooms…
The morning’s cool breeze woke her up from her reverie. But quickly, she relapsed into another. The words from yesterday’s argument with her father haunted her mind. She had barely stopped herself from causing a disaster hours before her departure.
She wanted to stay in Haifa but her father urged her to spend the night at his sister’s place in Tel Abib. Her flight was supposed to leave from the capital’s airport. So it was a reasonable suggestion. Non the less, she was prepared to do the 80 Km journey by bus, even though it would mean waking up at 4 AM. She realized that arguing further more would arouse her father’s suspicion. So, she finally agreed to spend the night at her aunt’s house.
Isidore, Esther’s father, had a great insight into personalities. Somehow, he failed to interpret his daughter’s reluctance to stay at his sister’s. His daughter had done a great job hiding her emotions. So, he presumed she was just shy. Esther never told him the truth nor does she plan on doing for it would only make him miserable.
Esther, unfortunately, didn’t have a great relationship with her aunt Leah. Her aunt loathed her ever since Isidore had brought her from foster care. She publicly disapproved of her brother’s decision. But, Isidore didn’t want to abandon his wife nor did he want to stay childless. So, he adopted Esther when she was three. For 14 years, Leah never accepted her as a part of her family. She never ceased to think of her as a shameful abomination to her world. Although, her grudge only surfaced when they were alone. Only then would Leah start calling her the most horrible of names, damning her birth parents and treating her like a slave.
Esther never said a word to her father. Not out of fear as Leah thought, but because she knew it would break his heart. This man had raised her under his roof and loved her unconditionally. Hurting him was not the proper way to return the favor. Esther was eternally indebted to this man and happily accepted her aunt’s vicious treatment knowing she was only protecting him.
Still, this house gave her the creeps.
Luckily, her aunt lived far away and rarely came to visit. Although her visits often gave her nightmares, Esther didn’t suffer from the traumatizing scars. In fact, she had led a pretty exiting life so far. Her unmatched intelligence and her unwavering honesty had got her in a fair lot of trouble. But upon realizing that a kind and friendly heart hid behind this firing spirit, people generally let go of any grudge and accepted the truth.
Isidore, was up as well, in the other guest room, reminiscing. He was proud of the girl he had raised. A girl that had a habit of challenging everyone’s beliefs, including his own. She raided everyone with questions that often confused them and made them doubt their own beliefs. Esther hated anyone that tried to impose a belief upon her without backing it up with the proper arguments. Isidore knew his daughter was natural born journalist. And so he tried to help her to the best of his ability.
His daughter was leaving for a whole year. His little birdie grew up and was ready to be released in the wild… You can’t blame a sleep deprived, nostalgic man for coming up with such a strange metaphor! As if to put an end to his torment, Esther’s alarm set off in the other room. It was 6:30 AM. Time was closing in.
Isidore got to his feet and went to knock on Esther’s door. She told him to come in and they both sat on the bed. He wanted to tell he loved her and how he was going to miss her… Yet, he couldn’t find the words. But his daughter knew why he had come, it was time to say goodbye. She hugged him tightly and told him that she loved him. Isidore returned her hug, and for a moment, they clung to each other…
An hour later, Esther gladly left her aunt’s house. And without a second look back, she jumped in her father’s car. A new adventure awaited her, a new country to explore, new people to meet and above all, new ideas to challenge her mind…
Tel Abib. Source: Center Blog
Badr and Esther Part One: https://quantumpassion.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/badr-and-esther-part-one/