“I really don’t want to go,” she said to herself for the third time this morning. “I know I must go, but I dread what lies ahead.” As she left the encampment and started across the hills towards her family’s lands she felt the dread building.
Yet, she didn’t want to stay either. With her husband dead, she had no protection, no income and certainly no security. Her mother-in-law was of little use to her. She told her to go, convinced her that her future lay behind her, not ahead. Why did she tell me to return to my mother’s house? She knows my mother is long dead. Was she just being stupid or did she simply mis-speak or was there some deeper, crueler, more hurtful meaning?
And her sister-in-law was completely useless. Even with that all understood, she still didn’t want to go. As she started down a small hill she did not look back as the camp disappeared behind her. Her sandaled feet picked their way along the seldom used rocky path. Dry, dead, scrub brush as far as she could see ahead. And the heat! Why didn’t she start this trip earlier in the morning, before the sun rose to bake her as it had the desert around her? There wasn’t so much as a haze in the clear blue sky. No shadows within which to rest, just the shimmering heat rising from the sand looking like cool blue water in the distance dissolving the monotonous tan of the desert. She looked up and saw the path winding down to the dry stream bed, not looking at where she walked. She felt the beginning of a thirst, on her lips first, then the back of her throat. She quickly dismissed it. It was too early in her journey to start thinking and worrying about water.