There was this girl

There was this girl that I grew up with in the same village and I didn’t know her that well but we both got engaged at around the same time.

There was loads of builders come up to our area because of the big town and some of them stayed near us and smiled at us and I got engaged to a builder and this other girl – I wouldn’t say she was my friend exactly – got engaged to a builder too.

Only this one time she ran away. She went for like three months. Her mum was beside herself and her fiance was working a lot and didn’t realise at first. And then she came back and I think she’d been at her uncle and aunt’s – I’m not sure if it was her uncle and aunt – and they lived ages away and she got back and she was smiling. And also she was pregnant. And they hadn’t even had the wedding yet. Her mum was crying and her dad was shouting at her and he summoned the fiance and then it went all quiet and the doors were kept closed for about a week and we all talked loads about it but we didn’t know what had happened and who the father was because the fiance was as surprised as the rest of them.

And the fiance – and he wasn’t a regular Joe – took matters into his own hands and decided he ought to marry her anyway, so she was moved to his house. It wasn’t a big deal the wedding and I didn’t even get invited. I felt a bit sorry for her for that actually. I didn’t see her all the time but she would be around sometimes and chat a bit and I’d ask her how she was and she’d mention her back or her feet were a bit sore and then ask about my wedding. I was looking forward to it because it was going to be a big deal and lots of food and dancing and people. But I didn’t invite her actually, and I feel a bit sorry about that now.

Because actually she was thoughtful and she did try and help out and look out for people and maybe she just felt bad because of getting pregnant before she was married but actually she wasn’t nasty or anything. I think a lot of people stopped talking to her and she struggled with that and then there was this thing that happened and her husband told us that they were going away for a bit. Actually that was a bit of a shame because this was when she was very pregnant and we were worried for her. We asked her if she was going to see her uncle and aunt again and she said she hoped so, and we told her good luck for the baby and that sort of thing and said goodbye.

It was a long time before we saw her again. I asked her mum and the baby had come, but they had kept travelling. It was a boy. They didn’t come back for a couple more years or actually maybe three. Her mum cried a lot when it was dark and sometimes my mum tried to help her.

And then they just came back. They had a couple of donkeys then and three kids already and they looked loads older. Her skin was darker from being outside a lot and travelling and her younger two kids were the spit of their dad – curly, energetic, olive eyes. But the oldest boy, the one we all wanted to see – he was definitely different. He was good at all sorts of things and great with the other kids and thoughtful like his mum. We teased him loads and my kids teased them all and asked them loads of questions and never got enough answers.

And I never found out who the dad was.

Neot Kedumim

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