Thomas Part 11

Thomas Part 1

Several weeks passed since Thomas and Gabriele realized that they would only be able to have a brother-sister relationship. When Thomas told Tadi he was free to get to know Gabriele, he was ecstatic and quickly left to gather some flowers to give to her. They had been practically inseparable since then and were planning on marrying.

Although Gabriele was not the right match for him, Thomas felt a dull ache in his heart after they stopped spending time together. Gabriele awakened feelings in him that died when Nara died. He was grateful for this awakening, yet it reminded him of how desperately he missed Nara; how he longed to be with her and hold her again. He began to wonder if it was time to move to a different village so hopefully, he would be able to move on with his life. He could easily build a wood shop somewhere else and his reputation was well-known throughout the land, so he knew he could easily make a living anywhere his lived.

One cool autumn day, Thomas invited David and Mary to his home for an evening meal. It was a simple meal which consisted of some boiled beef, bread, cheese, and tomatoes from his garden. Thomas really did not enjoy cooking, but while spending time with Gabriele, she taught him a few vital and time-saving tricks. Mary was actually quite impressed with his cooking skills.

After they finished eating, Thomas nervously announced to his parents that he was considering moving to a village that was about a two-day journey from them. He confessed that he felt like he was not able to progress where he was at and wanted to be able to work through his grief and start fresh in a new area. He expressed his appreciation for Gabriele and how she renewed hope in him and gave him courage to again open his heart. He informed his parents that he felt he needed to move to a place that was not filled with memories of Nara, a place where he could heal and then make a clean start, and then maybe consider opening his heart again.

Tears easily came to Mary’s eyes as Thomas spoke. They were tears of sorrow and joy; sorrow at the thought of her son moving away from his home town and joy that he was finally thinking about moving on with his life. She would fiercely miss seeing her son several times a week, but felt a peace within her that brought her joy and understanding that moving was a step in the right direction for her son.

David congratulated Thomas on the decisions that he was making and encouraged him to move forward. He conveyed that he would also greatly miss his daily associations at their wood shop and the expertise that Thomas brought to their business. Many tears were shed and hugs shared as they contemplated the changes about to take place; peace and certainty filled their hearts. Even Thomas wondered if Nara was in the room bringing them peace and encouraging him to move forward.

Within just three weeks Thomas was ready to move to his new home. Immediately after Thomas talked with his parents, he, along with Pipi and Riporty, traveled to the new village in search of a new home. Several people in the village already knew Thomas and were pleased that he was moving there. With help, he quickly found a place to live, a home that was vacated by a small family who chose to move closer to the wife’s family. It was practically perfect for Thomas as it had a nice barn and coral his animals and an area for a large garden. An abandoned shop sat near the house that Thomas would be able to quickly and easily transform into a wood shop. He felt amazed at how everything fell into place and how easy it was to find everything he needed.

David, Mary, Gabriele, and Tadi helped Thomas move his belongings, tools, and animals to the new village. They borrowed three wagons with extra teams of horses to pull the wagons filled with his tools and equipment. Thomas’s chickens were extremely displeased about being stuck into cages and loaded in a wagon. They noisily clucked and cackled their disapproval to the amusement of Thomas. Gabriele road Flora while Tadi road his horse to help herd the animals. Pipi and Riporty were especially helpful at keeping the goats and a cow on the right trail.

Due to the wagons and the animals the journey took three days. At one point, they had to stop to find a missing goat. David was ready to move on and just to leave the goat, but Thomas intently insisted that they find her. The goat was one that Nara handfed as a small kid and was her prized goat. Thomas did not have the heart to leave the goat behind. The group, all but Thomas, knelt in a circle and prayed to God that they would be able to speedily find the goat. Shortly after the prayer, Pipi began enthusiastically barking toward an area off the trail where they previously looked. Riporty headed in the direction that Pipi was barking and soon herded the missing goat back to the wagons. Thomas, filled with relief, hugged the goat and warned her to stay with the group (as if the goat would understand his words).

When they arrived at Thomas’s new home, there were warmly greeted by many of the villagers. They helped unload the wagons and put the animals in the barn and coral. A kind family that Thomas met on his previous visit, invited them to eat their evening meal with them. David was impressed with the hospitality of the people in the village. Most were believers in Jesus Christ which gave him hope that Thomas might rediscover his testimony of Jesus. Even though Thomas recently felt more peace, he still struggled with his faith in God.

Thomas quickly settled into his new life. He loved this new village as the people were warm and friendly. His business continued to prosper, although he greatly missed being with his father. Several of the single young women in the village came by his wood shop to purchase his carvings, with the intent to capture Thomas’s attention. Thomas laughed inside and not completely sure he enjoyed the attention. Sometimes parents of single young women anticipating an eligible match for their daughters came to the wood shop.

Thomas did make an effort to get to know single women in his village. He went to parties and celebrations with the intention of getting to know more people, especially single women. Gabrielle had awakened an inner yearning, a yearning to have a relationship again.

Four months after Thomas moved to the new village, a strikingly attractive tall young woman with dark hair and dark eyes came to his wood shop. Thomas had seen the woman before at one of the village celebrations and was impressed with her beauty. She carried a boy that looked to be about two years old in a back pack. The boy shared her dark hair and eyes and smiled at Thomas with a mischievous grin, immediately capturing his attention.

She introduced herself to Thomas revealing that her name was Maren and her son’s name was Daniel. Thomas was immediately intrigued with Maren’s beauty, but assumed since she had a child, she was married. Maren told Thomas that she heard that his bows and arrows were the finest made and she wanted to purchase a customized set. Thomas felt excited and pleased to help her, then realized that he had to bridle his excitement for her. She gave him her specifications for the bow while Thomas listened and took notes. He informed her that the bow and arrows would be ready in two days.

For some reason, Thomas felt a strong eagerness to work on Maren’s bow and arrows. He chided himself for even having such feelings of excitement for a married woman. He reflected on times when he had previously seen her, remembering that he never saw her with a man and wondered about her husband. As he contemplated, one of the villagers, Myron, who was one who first greeted Thomas when he moved to the village, rode up on his large brown and white horse. He dismounted and tied the horse to a post. With a cheeky grin, he walked over to Thomas and stated that he observed that Maren finally came to see him. Thomas stared at him with confusion in his eyes. Myron, seeing the confused look, explained that Maren was a widow who usually took her time getting to know new young men who came to the village.

Myron reported to Thomas how her husband, Teetonka, was tragically killed by a ruffian before Daniel was born. He had joined a group of people who lost their faith in God and in Jesus and so did not follow the basic laws set up by most villages. One of the men in the group wanted to take advantage of Maren because of her exquiste beauty and offered Teetonka a large sum of money. However, he was not going to allow anyone to touch Maren and told the man no. The man increased the amount of money he was willing to give him. Teetonka actually felt tempted, and contemplated about how that amount of money would allow him to build a larger home for Maren and to purchase many items that she desired. The man, sensing his hesitation, quickly added more money to what he was willing to pay. Then, Teetonka, remembering his love for Maren unequivocally told him that he would not take any money for Maren and would not allow another man to touch her. The man became very angry, pulled a knife and silently stabbed Teetonka in the heart killing him instantly. He then hid his body.

The man went to Maren and took advantage of her, after confessing to her about the conversation he had with her husband and revealing that he killed him. Myron said that Daniel was definitely Teetonka’s son, as he has his mischievous smile, turned up nose, and square jawline. Also, Maren already knew she was with child when the man came upon her.

Thomas was stunned at Maren’s tragedy and asked if the man ever took advantage of her again. Myron informed him that Maren’s father, uncles, and brothers hunted for the man until they found him and brought him to the judge. He was convicted and sentenced to a prison in another village.

Myron smiled at him and informed him that he had seen the way Maren looked at him at a village celebration and thought he should know the complete story. Thomas thanked him for the information and gave him a small wood carving of a squirrel for his son who Thomas knew liked squirrels. Myron thanked him and departed.

With this new information, Thomas was excited that he did not need to bury the eagerness that he felt towards Maren. He then searched through his wood pile and found one of his best pieces of hickory wood and began carving her bow.

(To be continued…)

Thomas Part 10

Thomas Part 1

Several weeks after Helki left, Tumu and Rebekah, along with eight-year old Noah, and 19-year old Gabriele, Nara’s younger sister, arrived to visit Thomas and his parents. They had been corresponding since Nara’s death, but had not yet visited in person.

It had been almost a year since Nara’s passing and Thomas continued to feel grief-stricken. He did have many good days, but more than not, days were filled with debilitating depression and anguish to the point where he struggled to arise from bed in the mornings and work in his wood shop. Usually, once he arrived at his wood shop, he lost himself in his work. He genuinely loved carving hardwoods and using his hands to create exquisite works of art. He received many commissions for his carvings and thoroughly enjoyed the creative challenge each commission provided. However, at the end of many of his days, after Thomas left the wood shop, the depression set back in. To see Tumu, Rebekah, Gabriele, and especially Noah was a bright spot in Thomas’s day.

Rebekah was eager to see the exquisite painting given to Thomas by the prophet Sam. As she gazed up it, tears flooded her eyes. She saw her daughter in the little girl that was lovingly surrounded by angels. Tumu put his strong arms around her to love and comfort her as tears also came to his eyes. As soon as Noah saw the painting, he jumped up and down excitedly pointing to the girl and said Nara! He told his parents and Thomas that was Nara in the painting and Nara was standing with them and smiling at them at that very moment. Thomas, wanting to pick Noah up, but knowing that he was now too big, knelt down in front of him and informed him that the girl in the painting was the little sister of the prophet Sam. Noah, knowing the story of the painting, informed Thomas that he knew that, but the girl looked very much like Nara to which Thomas readily agreed.

Thomas asked Noah how he knew that Nara was there. Noah responded as if everyone could see her, and asked Thomas why he did not see her. Tumu explained that Noah was blessed with a gift to see spirits and angels. It was such a common occurrence for Noah to see angels that he easily forgot that most others did not see them. His explanation pricked Thomas’s heart that he could not see he his beloved Nara like Noah did, but was equally touched at the sincerity and love from the young boy.

Tumu then suggested that Gabriele take Noah outside to care for the animals. Noah loved Nara’s animals so he willingly ran outside with Gabriele hurrying to catch up.

Tumu and Rebekah asked Thomas to sit down as they had an important matter that they wanted to discuss with him. They reminded Thomas of their love for him and that he would always be a son to them. They also told him that they wanted him to be happy and have someone to love. They encouraged him to move on with his life and consider marrying again. Thomas hesitantly told them that deep down, he knew he needed to move on, but he still deeply missed Nara and found it hard to accept the possibility that there could be someone else for him to love. Tumu empathized with his feelings then carefully suggested that he contemplate getting to know Gabriele. Thomas looked at him incredulously! Gabriele had always been a cute little sister to him and he was not sure he could think of her in any other way. Tumu informed him that he understood his feelings, and requested that he at least ponder the idea. Thomas assured Tumu and Rebekah that he would give the idea thoughtful consideration.

At that moment, Riporty began barking loudly and intently, so Thomas and Tumu quickly ran outside. Gabriele had been feeding and playing with the goats when suddenly one of the male goats head-butted her and knocked her down. Riporty, acting protective of Gabriele, started to bark. Thomas immediately went to Gabriele, used his right leg to push the billy goat away from her and then gently picked her up and took her into the house. Gabriele, though lightly crying from the pain and embarrassment, also laughed at the situation. She would have a large bruise on the back of her leg, but other than that, she was fine. Thomas asked if she wanted the healer to come look at her leg, but she declined stating that her mother would know exactly what to do. Rebekah announced had brought some herbs with her that she could use on Gabriele’s leg; then laughingly escorted Thomas out of the room.

As Thomas walked out of the house, he reflected on when saw Gabriele on the ground and had carefully picked her up and carried her into his house. He felt incredibly protective of her, but was that because he thought of her as a little sister or maybe because there could be deeper feelings to explore. He was not certain but thought that maybe, just maybe, he could pursue a more romantic relationship with Gabriele; he wondered if would she feel the same way.

Thomas’s parents joined them for their evening meal and they enjoyed their time to catch up on the events in their lives. As they ate, Thomas studied Gabriele. He saw some similarities in her features to Nara, yet she was completely different. Nara was quite adventurous while Gabriele, though somewhat adventurous, enjoyed staying home. Like Nara, she was a master weaver and unlike Nara, she was a master cook.

After the evening meal was cleaned up, the family visited and enjoyed watching Noah’s antics.. After some time passed, Thomas mentioned that he needed to go outside to check on the animals. He invited Gabriele to help him and to make peace with the billy goat. Noah quickly stood up and declared he would go out with them, but Tumu kindly asked him to stay inside and help his mother clean up from the evening meal. Rebekah promised him a delicious treat. Noah begrudgingly complied with his father’s wishes, looking forward to a delicious treat.

Outside, Thomas led Gabriele to the billy goat and safely held his horns so Gabriele could pet him. The goat nudged his nose into her hands, hoping for a treat, but settled for her scratching between his horns and behind his ears. They laughed at the goat’s shenanigans and Gabriele again felt comfortable around him. Thomas hesitantly brought up the conversation that he had with her parents and asked if she would be willing to spend time with him to see if there might be something more in their relationship. Gabriele looked at him in astonishment and informed him that her parents spoke to her about a possible relationship, but she did not think Thomas would ever choose to pursue one with her. She knew how much he had loved, and still loved Nara and expressed that she was not sure he was ready for another relationship. She also told him that he was a great big brother to her and would always love him for that. She indicated that she was unsure if they would be able to put aside their brotherly-sisterly love but informed him that she was willing to explore the possibility.

Since Tumu and Rebekah needed to return to their home in two days, they decided that Gabriele would stay with Thomas’s parents. Noah also wanted to stay, but Tumu reminded him of his responsibilities back at home, part of which was preparing for a bow and arrow competition. Noah argued that the best teacher and coach would be Thomas, but Tumu explained to him that Thomas would be busy and his prized bow and arrow set (made by Thomas) was at their house; Noah reluctantly agreed.

During the next two weeks, Thomas and Gabriele spent as much time together as they could. While Thomas was at work in his wood shop, Gabriele took care of Thomas’s animals, took painting lessons from Mary, and began weaving a beautiful blanket. In the evening, they would talk, ride horses on the trail to the waterfall, target practice with bows and arrow, and enjoyed many other activities while spending time together.

One evening while Thomas and Gabriele were in a field target shooting, Thomas’s cousin, Tadi, who was out for a ride, decided to join them. Tadi was a very handsome 22-year old who was not yet married. He broke many hearts of many girls in the village who would have liked to marry him. Tadi and Thomas were close while growing up. They would often compete in target practice. Thomas loved competing with Tadi because he was almost as good as him. Because of Tadi’s skill, Thomas became a stronger competitor. Thomas usually won, but Tadi was always close behind. They often traveled to shooting competitions together.

When Tadi was introduced to Gabriele, he unexpectedly felt his heart leap in his chest as he was captivated with her deep blue eyes and cheerful smile. He knew he absolutely could not pursue those feelings as he was aware that Thomas and Gabriele were purposely spending time together. However, he could not get her beautiful eyes out of his mind. For the next several days, he purposely stayed away from Thomas and Gabriele, desperately trying to ignore the feelings that had so deeply and suddenly struck him.

Four days after meeting Gabriele, Tadi was in the marketplace to purchase rope. Gabriele happened to be in the marketplace at the same time, a few vendors down looking at yarns. As soon as Tadi saw her, he tried to find a way to quickly escape before she saw him, but was too late. Gabriele called out to him and rushed over to him. Tadi was instantly entranced by her eyes and it took a moment before he could respond to her simple question of how he was doing. He finally responded and they talked for several minutes discussing their plan for their purchases. Gabriele invited him to join she and Thomas for dinner. He regrettably declined stating he had a previous commitment.

At that moment, Thomas came over to them. He hugged Gabriele, then Tadi. He also invited Tadi over for dinner. Gabriele informed Thomas that he had a previous commitment and would not be able to make it. Tadi put an arm around Thomas and Gabriele, told them it was great to see them, but he needed to leave to meet with someone. They expressed their good-byes and Tadi left. Thomas told Gabriele that he enjoyed seeing her at the market and that she looked radiant. He gave her a quick hug and left to return to his wood shop.

That evening, after a meal of beef, vegetables, bread, and cheese at David and Mary’s house, Thomas took Gabriele by the hand and suggested that they go for a walk. Gabriele protested stating that she needed to help Mary clean up from the evening meal. David gave her a big smile and assured her that he would help Mary.

As soon as they walked out the door, they were eagerly greeted by Pipi and Riporty. They laughed and the four of them walked away from the house and towards the creek that flowed close by.

After walking and talking for several minutes, Thomas gazed into Gabriele’s beautiful blue eyes and expressed how much he really did love her, but indicated that the love he felt for her was still just a sisterly love. He assured her that he had thoroughly enjoyed their time together during the last couple weeks. He explained that a part of him that basically died after Nara’s death and that Gabriele helped to bring life into him again for which he would be forever grateful. He expressed how he always wanted to be a part of her life and always be her big brother.

Gabriele, with tears in her eye, told Thomas that she felt the same way. She loved him too, but only as a big brother. She assured him that she tried to love him in a romantic way, but those feelings just did not come.

Thomas, mischievously looked into Gabriele’s eyes and surprised her by informing her that she needed to locate Tadi. She appeared puzzled that he would even bring up Tadi. With a big smile on his face, Thomas explained to her the look he saw in Tadi’s eyes each time he saw her. Then, there was the look he noticed in her eyes when she looked upon Tadi’s handsome body. Gabriele desperately tried denying any type of look or feeling that she had for Tadi, but Thomas, laughingly, would not buy it! Smiling, she finally admitted that she thought Tadi was extremely handsome and would not mind getting acquainted with him. They affectionally hugged for a long while, knowing and accepting that they would be forever brother and sister.

(To be continued…)