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Entering Abba’s Heart

Rhona Lewis

Before Sima could inscribe her tale, she needed to learn how to read and write. Surely today she would convince Abba to send her to the French Alliance School. Even the shochet’s daughter went there. She thought of Abba’s Chumash, stored carefully on the shelf in the kitchen–living room. Soon she would be reading from it. “A girl who is already thirteen must think of building a home,” Abba said every time she mentioned school.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sima strode along the dirt path that led to the river. Her bare feet stirred up small dust clouds as they slapped the earth. The empty bucket in her hand swung by her side.

Summer in Morocco was mild: a cool breeze rustled the trees that lined the path. Soft sunshine broke through the canopy of leaves and dappled her arms.

Sima dreamed of the story that she was going to write. It would be about a girl who didn’t have to help her family harvest olives at the end of summer. She squinted against the sun, trying to spot the familiar sloping bank that led to the water. As she made her way carefully down the slippery bank, Ima’s voice resonated in her mind: “If you carry on dreaming of stories, you’ll become as lazy as Fatima.”

Everyone knew that nobody wanted to marry Fatima because she was so indolent. Sima frowned. The girl in her story would not be like Fatima; instead of going to the orchards, she would stay home and bake pita for everyone.


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