No! It can’t be! Why would my biological father show up here, of all places? He made it clear in court that he cares nothing for my mother since she was so badly injured. The doctor on the ward said that no one ever came to visit her until we discovered her identity last week.
“Are you alright?”
One of the passengers in the elevator is addressing me. I nod, afraid to trust my voice.
“Are you sure?” he insists on asking.
“Yes.” My voice shakes, and concern registers on the stranger’s face.
“I’m going to visit my mother,” I say. “She’s been very sick.”
“Ah, now I understand why you are so pale. It must be very hard for you. May your mother have a refuah shleimah!”
“Amen. Thank you,” I reply softly. He gets off on the fifth floor, but there are other people in the elevator and it feels like they’re all looking at me with pity. “She’s getting better!” I say aloud, watching the electronic numbers change from five to six and then seven. I wish it would go faster.
I’m the only one left when the elevator reaches the top floor. I hurry to the nurses’ station and ask where my mother is. Elisheva, the nurse who was there yesterday when my mother woke up, smiles at me. “Come, I’ll show you,” she says. I follow her down the corridor, glancing anxiously behind me to see if Musa Elkaradi is coming or not.
“Hello Mrs. Elkaradi!” nurse Elisheva says cheerfully. “I’ve brought you another special visitor.”
Mommy is sitting up, supported by pillows on either side. Her eyes blink away tears as I take her hand in mine. “How are you?” I ask, suddenly feeling shy and awkward in front of the nurse and without Ima beside me.
Mommy nods her head slightly and squeezes my hand while Elisheva looks on with approval. “Your mother swallowed some oatmeal today,” she reports. “She’s making great progress!”
I’m relieved when the friendly nurse finally leaves the room. As soon as I’m sure she’s gone I close the door and draw the curtains around my mother’s bed. Her eyes follow me as if to ask why. Should I tell her about the man I saw in the lobby? I’m sure it was Elkaradi, but it’s possible he came to the hospital to see someone else and not her. I don’t want to alarm her.
Hardly more than a whisper, but she said my name! “Yes, Mommy?”
I study my mother’s face. I understand that she wants to tell me something. I stroke her hand and force myself to be patient as she struggles to form words.
“Sarah says you know.” Each word costs her a lot of effort.
“Ima, your sister, told me,” I reassure her.
“I think so. I always knew I was adopted, but a few months ago I learned about how you gave me away to save me. I know who my biological father is. I know that Yaeli is my sister, and that she and you were together in a bus that was blown up by a suicide bomber.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 734)
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