Read Part 1 here
Somehow, every year after for the next five years, I would try to be at the river around the time of the vegetable harvest. And somehow, every year for the next five years, our paths would cross and we would spend the day playing and talking at the river.
Though each time a year had passed, it seemed as though nothing changed between us.
Well, almost nothing.
It was vegetable harvest again, the year of my sixteenth birthday. What was usually a happy time for me as I anticipated seeing Ethan was this year a stressful time. Mother and Father and I had been at odds for the past week, and today was no exception.
“Father, PLEASE don’t make me marry Jacob.” I pleaded.
“Daughter, we have been through this many times over. You and Jacob have been betrothed since you were children. He comes from a good family and will take very good care of you. There really is nothing more to discuss!”
“I know, Father, and I do not doubt that he would be a good, caring husband, but I do not love him in that way!”
“Adina, you speak of love like this as though you have something with which to compare it. Is there something you want to tell me?” Father asked warily.
Without warning, the image of Ethan flashed in my mind’s eye. I loved him? I guess it had been coming for a while now. I hadn’t known how to explain what had changed between us, but now I was sure that must be it.
I loved Ethan!
The joy of the discovery no sooner made its appearance than did the realization that I could not tell my father about him. He would not understand that, even though Ethan was a Jew, he accepted me for who I was as a person and not my race. No, I could not tell my Father about this secret liaison.
“No, Father. There is nothing.” I said resignedly.
“Then I don’t want to hear another word about it daughter. You will marry Jacob at the end of the wheat harvest” Father replied.
Then, as though to bring some consolation, he added more softly, “You know, your Mother and I were betrothed as children, and we have a very good and happy life. I’m sure you will too.” And with that, he was gone.
No sooner had he left me than I fell to the floor weeping. I had barely begun to know love, only to have the possibility now ripped away.
I wiped away tears as I blindly began shoving items into a small bag. As a last thought, I grabbed my goatskin blanket and began running. I didn’t stop until I reached the river.
It was merely hours, but it felt like days that I laid on the bank crying and dreaming and longing for what could never be. There were only a couple of hours of sunlight left when I heard a voice calling from a few feet away.
I sat up, hurrying to rid my face of evidence of tears. Once my vision cleared, I saw the form of my best friend – the boy I had come to love.
“Ethan!” I cried and ran to him.
I threw my arms around his neck at such a speed we were both knocked to the ground. He didn’t really react, he just sat there holding me. “I missed you, Adina.” he murmured against my hair.
“I missed you too.” I wept softly.
Upon hearing the breaking of my voice he pulled back to look into my eyes. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” he asked, his voice laced with concern.
I explained to him what was to be my fate, and we spent the next few hours talking.
It felt so good to talk to someone who understood my side.
It had just begun to grow dark and we ceased our conversation to watch the sun go down. Then, out of nowhere, Ethan grabbed my hand. “Adina, marry me.”
“Wh-what?” I was taken aback.
“Marry me! If we’re married, you can’t be made to marry Jacob! I love you Adina. It can work!” He said excitedly.
“Ethan, but…I’m a Samaritan and you’re a Jew! It can’t happen! Neither of our families would allow it!” I was so afraid to hope.
“Adina, let me talk to my parents. I will make them understand! Trust me, I’m not letting you go. Please, love. Say you will be my wife.”
As he spoke those words I could hardly believe they were coming out of his mouth. A lone tear forged a path down my cheek. “Yes.” I whispered.
We spent the night together that night. It seemed so right at the time, but I had no way of knowing that that would be the last time for a long, long time I would know happiness.
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