The night set the taste of salt sea in Ada’s mouth. As she listened to Japheth push the plane up the hunk of wood he was shaping, she gazed at the bluish black waters. Within them had gone all the green forests, all the brawny beasts of the Earth.
“Want anything else?” she said. “I can get you more potato soup or a sandwich.”
“No, I’m fine.” Japheth halted the forward motion of the planer and wiped the sweat from his broad forehead. “I’m working on a new type of beam for the framing of our next house. It’s going to be a hybrid of the type of framing we used on the ark and the frames we used for houses in the old days.”
“The old days?” Ada’s heart sunk. “Is that what you think of all we lost, ‘the old days’?”
Japheth squinted at her then shrugged. “It’s God’s way, not mine. We’ve got to roll with it, don’t we?”
Japheth lit another torch and moved the plane across another rough-hewn board. Ada felt herself being dismissed by a wave of his hand. Of course she was an obedient soul. They were all obedient from the elder Noah to his youngest son, Ham. Well, perhaps not Ham; he had different ways.
“Things have got to change,” she told one of the pigs as she dropped leftovers into its pen. “I’ll talk to his mother. Emzara knows Japheth better than anyone. If anyone can help me she can.”
“Why do you feel as if he’s abandoned you, my dear?” Noah’s wife Emzara pulled a squealing piglet out of the pen and then scooped the filthy straw out into a bucket.
“I do love Japheth; you know that.” Ada stepped away from the pen and looked down into the filthy smelling bucket trying to breathe slowly so she didn’t have to feel nauseated.
“If you love my son,” said Emzara, “then whatever is bothering you?”
Ada hoped Emzara would take charge of the conversation and pull her hurts out of her like her lost father, an elder in her village, would have done. But Emzara seemed to shrug her off almost as Japheth did, with that little twist of the hand. “What’s wrong is Japheth has absolutely no time for me.” Ada sighed, glad she finally got it out.
But Emzara seemed to harden up. “Well, deary, every waking moment has a working minute in it,” she stated. “At least that’s how my Japheth feels.”
Ada whisked the poop filled bucket from Emzara, spilling it all over the elderly lady. She gasped as Emzara wiped up the poop smeared on her pantaloons. “I am so sorry, mother,” she erupted, shaking. She hoped not to see that stern set face turn against her. “Japheth is a good worker; I know it.”
Emzara let out a hearty laugh. “You are a tender one, aren’t you?” Her smile seemed almost jolly. “Ya got to toughen up around here, deary, if ya want to survive with such animals. After all anything could happen. Even pigs might fly!”
Ada stumbled backward as Emzara scooped up one of the piglets and tossed it over the bucket into her arms. When she got control of the dirty little rough skinned piglet she set it back into the pen and wiped her hands on the wood fence.
“I’m very proud of my Japheth,” said Emzara. “He’s always reminded me of my father. Like your father, he died at an early age, slightly less than four hundred years. Used to build dwellings to make his living. Ada, relax. We have each other; all of us do.” She wiped off some tubes of dry straw from her pantaloons. “Come with me, Ada dear.”
Emzara grabbed Ada’s tiny fingers and pulled her up toward the top deck, Ada lurching to keep up. Finally she reached a small cage and told Ada to close her eyes.
Ada tensed as Emzara guided her hand into a cage. Her arm shook as she envisioned what might be in there. In an instant her small fingers were immersed into the softest pelt fur she’d ever felt. The softness soothed her fingers. As she petted the creature a warm fuzzy vibration “bbbbrrrrr” traveled up her arm. “What is it, Emzara?” she said.
“It’s a rabbit.” Emzara’s voice softened. She touched Ada’s chin. “It’s up to us to make our own moments, deary.”