SERIAL NOVEL: The Black Mennonite (Chapter 21) by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte

Chapter 21
No Beau in Waiting

“I want you to know,” Rebecca said to Eva after her brother closed the door behind him, “that I’m with you and Jacob. I’ve often imagined myself dressed in bright, fancy clothing as the Englischer women wear who I see whenever I go into town. Or letting my hair down. Or having a fancy hat on my head with a feather hanging off of it. Or having on a beautiful hair piece instead of this kapp. I don’t think I’m any less spiritual for thinking these thoughts. I guess I’ve been too afraid to advocate change by myself; then too, I did not want to have to face Daed. You have Jacob to stand with you; I have no one to buttress me.”

“Then maybe it’s time for you to get married,” Eva said with a smile. “No beau in the waiting?”

“Ach, nee. No one serious. Timothy is trying to make something happen; but he’s doing a terrible job at it. He is literally turning me off. All he talks about is himself. But how do I tell him I’m simply not interested in him without hurting his feelings?”

“Sometimes you have to hurt feelings to get your point across,” Eva said.

“Jah. On top of that, Daed keeps talking about me and Elder Thomas courting. But like I confided in Mamm, I do not want an old man for a husband. He’s got to be ten to fifteen years older than I. I do not care how much farm land he has or how well established he is,” Rebecca said. She then giggled. “I may have to go searching for my beau in the other community or from among the Englischers.”

“Ooh! That would certainly get Daed Stoltzfus riled up for sure; but then, you would be able to wear all the fancy dresses and hats that you want,” Eva said as they both laughed at the thought. “Anyway, you don’t have to worry about standing alone. Jacob and I will stand with you as long as what you’re doing is not sinful. I mean we can’t allow ourselves to be restricted from moving forward with our lives because of some man-made rule.”

“Yes, I know, and I very much appreciate it,” Rebecca said. “By the way, how is Kezia? I have not heard a peek out of her.”

“She’s still asleep. She’s getting into a regular sleep pattern now. She should be waking up within the next hour or so.”

“I’ll hang around until she awakens. Is there anything you’d like for me to help you with? I didn’t want to face Daed first thing this morning, but as I think about it, I should have stayed with Mamm.”

“You can help me with the quilt I’m sewing for Mrs. Rothchild,” Eva said. “By the way, she offered me a job working at the shop two days a week starting out. I’ll be helping with mending and stuff like that. Isn’t that great?”

“I am so happy for you,” Rebecca said, reaching over to give Eva a hug. “I’ll be more than happy to keep Kezia on the days you have to go in.”

“Denke. But Mrs. Rothchild says I can take her with me as I’ll not be interacting with the customers—not yet anyway. As I think about it, it may be best to leave her with you. I just hate to let her out of my sight considering how she came to be with us. Plus, her mother or whoever left her here instructed us to keep her with us at all times.”

“I understand, and I won’t let her out of my sight,” Rebecca said. “Let me help you clear away the breakfast things and then we can get going on quilting. I’ll hang around long enough for Miss Kezia to awaken then I have to get back to Mamm. Don’t be surprised if I return with her. At the same time, don’t be surprised if you don’t see or hear from me or her all week long except for maybe Sunday because of Daed putting limits on us. And, Eva, I respect you greatly for taking a stand. I’m with you and Jacob on this.”

The women worked for about an hour and a half encouraging and uplifting each other.

“We’ll pray for Gott’s will to be done,” Rebecca said as she gave Eva a goodbye hug. “Don’t forget: I’m free to baby-sit for you.”

“I won’t,” Eva replied.