A Harsh Reality Pt. 07byAshiraDatya©
"Let me see him!" Miriam demanded, trying to push past Malachi and Ari, who were both under strict orders from Liam not to let her past them.
"Sorry Miri, not until the docs are done with him," Malachi said firmly.
"You should be resting," Ari added.
"He's my husband, Mal! I have the right to see him!" Miriam's voice was shrill, and while she was clearly tired, there was a determination within her that kept her standing, her eyes flashing with anger at being kept from her husband and the worry she felt for him.
"They won't let me see him either." Miriam looked over and stared at her mother in law in surprise; Cathy was one of the last people she expected to see. "It's good to see you Mrs. Chancey," Miriam said slowly.
"Call me Cathy, I suppose at this point, we should be beyond formalities. After all, you are the mother of my grandchild, if Will is to be believed," Cathy said, looking at Miriam cautiously.
"Why would Will lie about something like that?" Malachi demanded to know, turning on the woman.
He'd been furious with Ari for bringing Cathy Chancey to the camp, but he understood; he'd have wanted his mother with him if the country was about to change drastically.
"Maybe Will believes he's the father, but who knows? I mean, he didn't know Miriam very well before he started fucking her." The look in Cathy's eyes when she looked at Miriam was a cold look of disdain.
"Will is the baby's father, but that's neither here nor there. I want to see him Ari, NOW!" Miriam exclaimed.
"Your father said not until the doctors are done," Ari said.
"And you should go back to bed," Malachi added.
"Jesus fucking christ Malachi! You'd think nobody had ever had given birth before with the way you're trying to baby me!" Miriam shouted.
"You had the baby?" Cathy asked, looking at Miriam carefully.
"Yesterday evening," Miriam confirmed. "I'm fine Mal," she turned back to her friend.
"I hate being called Mal," Malachi said through gritted teeth.
"And I want to see my husband," Miriam snapped.
"Husband? When did that happen?" Cathy demanded to know.
"Right after we got to camp," Miriam answered, sighing in frustration.
"Miri, the doctors are working on Will, I'm sure he'll be fine," Malachi said gently, pushing her down into a chair. "You on the other hand look exhausted," he added.
"I'm fine Chai," Miriam murmured, no longer angry with her friend.
"And how close are the two of you?" Cathy asked, looking between Malachi and Miriam through narrowed eyes.
"We've known each other since we were kids," Malachi answered. A noise in the doorway had his attention. "Hey Luce," he said. Ari turned and embraced his wife and took Josh from her.
"Hannah's right behind me with the baby over Miri," Lucy said softly. "Any word?" Lucy asked.
"Not yet," Miriam sighed, stood up when Hannah walked in with the sleeping baby. "Did she wake up at all?" Miriam asked her sister.
"Nope, she's been asleep the entire time," Hannah told her sister as she passed the baby back to Miriam. Miriam gave her sister a fond smile and glanced down at her daughter who was now squirming.
"May I?" Cathy asked softly. Miriam hesitated then turned to her mother in law. "She's beautiful. What have you named her?" Cathy wanted to know.
"I haven't yet. I wanted to talk to Will first," Miriam answered. Everyone looked up as the doctor and her father stepped into the hall. "How is he?" Miriam wanted to know.
"He's awake Miriam and asking for you. He's going to be fine," the doctor told Miriam. Cathy and Miriam both started into the room and the doctor held up a hand. "Ma'am, I don't mean you any disrespect, but I think we should give your son and his wife a few minutes so that Miriam can introduce Will to his daughter," the doctor said gently. Cathy tensed at that but nodded and took a step back. Miriam gave her a grateful look and pushed past the doctor and into the room.
"Will?" Miriam asked softly. William opened his eyes and smiled.
"You're a sight for sore eyes," he murmured. His gaze dropped to the baby in her arms and his eyes widened. "When?" he wanted to know.
"Yesterday, about an hour before you stumbled back into camp," Miriam answered. "The doctor says she's perfect," she added.
"She?" William asked with a smile.
"Yes." Miriam sat down in the chair that was by the bed so that Will could see the little girl they'd created.
"She's beautiful." William's voice was full of exhaustion and pain.
"Did they give you anything for the pain?" Miriam asked, looking up at the IV.
"I told them not to until I got a chance to see you," William answered.
"Don't be such a tough guy," Miriam chastised.
"I've missed you. I hope you understand why I had to leave and forgive me. I never wanted to leave you," William said.
"We can talk about that later Will," Miriam told him. "Your mom wants to see you," she added as the door opened behind her. "Come in Cathy," Miriam called with a small sigh.
"I needed to see for myself that Will is okay," Cathy said, not sounding the least bit sorry at interrupting their reunion.
"I'm fine mom, it was just a shoulder wound," Will told his mother, wincing at the tight hug she gave him.
"I'm your mother, I needed to see that for myself," Cathy said, rolling her eyes at her son's attempt to downplay his injury.
"Mom, could Miriam and I have a few minutes? I want to hold my daughter," William inquired. Cathy gave Miriam a hostile look but nodded and left the room. William looked up at Miriam. "May I?" Miriam smiled, nodded and slid the baby who was now awake, into her father's arms. Surprisingly, the baby was quiet, and not crying, just looked up at her father curiously.
"You should rest," Miriam said softly.
"So should you," William countered.
"I will when you do," Miriam said stubbornly. William laughed and winced at the pain that shot through his shoulder at the movement. They both looked up when the doctor walked in, Liam trailing behind him. "I'm not leaving," Miriam told her father before he could open his mouth.
"Miriam, be reasonable. You've just had a baby," Liam protested.
"I've been without my husband for months and I refuse to be without him any longer," Miriam argued.
"How about we set up a second bed and a cradle in here, that way Miriam can be with Will until he is released?" the doctor suggested.
"That works for me," William and Miriam said together.
"I'll have it arranged. In the mean time, Will, do you think you could handle some food?" Liam asked.
"Maybe some soup," William agreed.
"Hannah made Matzo Ball soup earlier," Miriam told her father, her eyes not leaving William's.
"I'll have your sister bring some for both of you, and then as soon as that bed and cradle get here, I want you to both get some rest," Liam instructed.
"Did you really marry her Will?" Cathy asked a few days later while they were waiting for Liam, Malachi and Ari to arrive in the main cabin.
"Yes mom, I really married her and her name is Miriam. Please use it," Will said with a sigh.
"And the baby?" Cathy asked.
"We named her Abigail Eliana," William answered with a smile. He'd only known his daughter for just under a week, but he was already head over heels in love with her.
"That's a pretty name. What does it mean?," Cathy asked with a small smile. She'd warmed up considerably to Miriam when she learned that if she refused to respect Miriam's place in William's life or she'd never be allowed near her son or grand daughter again.
"Abigail means father's joy and Eliana means God has answered," William told his mother.
"I'm sure she will be her father's joy," Cathy murmured. William sighed, knowing his mother wanted to add the words, 'whomever he is' to her sentence. "I'm sorry Will, but she lied to you about her religion, how can you be one hundred percent sure she isn't lying about the baby being yours?" Cathy asked.
"Because I know Miriam, mom. I know her better than you think I do. Abby is my little girl, and I love Miriam." William looked up when his father in law and new allies walked into the room.
"Glad to hear it," Liam said. Cathy blushed but didn't move to apologize. "Mrs. Chancey, I understand your hesitation to trust my daughter, but she has never lied about anything in her life, unlike your husband," Liam told the woman. Cathy bristled at the comment but let it go; she'd seen the files her husband had left behind. For all his bigotry and hatred, William Chancey senior was an intelligent and was quite anal retentive when it came to keeping all of his business documents well organized and even Cathy couldn't deny what her husband had been doing, the number of people he had imprisoned and ordered to their deaths.
"I am sorry for what my husband has done, it is deplorable, but I can't change it," Cathy said tersely.
"How can you judge my daughter when your husband has done so much worse than lied about her religion?" Liam asked.
"Enough! Both of you!" William exclaimed. "This won't help!" he added. "Here's what we need to do, Liam, please let me know if you have any suggestions on how to make it happen."
William stood at the podium as he watched video of the last campus being torn down and then turned to look out over the sea of people.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in 2000, my father, William Chancey senior took over this country after instigating the assassination of a President and within ten years, he made it illegal to be Jewish and built what he advertised as campuses. In reality, they were concentration camps, bigger and far worse than the world saw during the second world war. Somehow, my father managed to keep the truth for me while using me as a figure head and in 2010, my eyes were opened to the atrocities my father was committing and they were opened by my wife Miriam. It has taken five years, but the video behind you was demolition of the final campus my father created, putting an end to his murderous reign. It is no longer illegal to be Jewish, or Muslim, Buddist or any other religion. Punishments will be very strict for anyone who attempts to harm anyone out of hatred. The country is undergoing a reformation and things will change. We will accept our neighbors for who they are. I personally guarantee that during my life time, I will do whatever I can to stop hate crimes. I don't want my children growing up in a world of hate and a world of murder. Any questions?" William asked.
"How do we know you're telling the truth? That you won't hunt the Jews anymore?" one woman called out.
"Miri, come up here please," William said softly. Miriam stepped forward, Abigail's hand enclosed tightly in hers and an infant wrapped in a blue blanket in her other arm. "This is my wife Miriam, daughter Abby and our son Samuel. Miriam is Jewish; she and her father as well as the other surviving Jews of Michigan had been fighting against my father for years. Miriam is one of the kindest people I've ever met.
William lifted Abigail into his arms and then slipped his hand into Miriam's as they watched the people take it all in. "Do you think that they'll be able to heal?" Miriam asked quietly.
"It will take time, already things are improving and I believe the people can see that. Only time will tell if it will be enough. I can't erase hatred and bigotry, but I can do what I can to make it safer, for them, for us, for our children and eventually, our grandchildren," William murmured. Miriam smiled, looked down at the boy in her arms and kissed him.
"I hope you're right," Miriam's voice was barely audible, she looked up when two of the Rabbis from their camp, along with a preacher from every known faith stepped forward.
"We are ready to start the prayer session," one of the Rabbis said. Miriam and William smiled.
"Then please start Rabbi Taubman," William insisted, then stepped back with Miriam by his side and when the Rabbis finished reciting the Mi Sheberakh, joined in with the mass, "Amen."
Mi Sheberakh for those of you who do not know, is Hebrew and it is the prayer for healing.
Thank you for going on the journey of this story; it was a difficult story for me to write, especially with everything that has been going on in my life recently. Thanks for sticking with it; let me know if I should attempt a follow-up with the children born during the course of this story.
Shabbat Shalom, or Good Sabbath to all.