that he did not wait for Laban yet again. She smoothed the fabric of her robe, feeling the heat creep into her face as she walked. She stopped near Laban’s side, opposite Eliezer.
    “Will you go with this man?” Laban asked.
    His look told her he wanted her to refuse, to side with their mother and stay the ten months needed to make all of the preparations, to secure all of the things she must have for her new home. A bride should not go to the house of her husband empty-handed. But this was no ordinary betrothal, and she knew with one glance at Eliezer and by the accompanying peace in her heart that she dare not stay. Such an opportunity might not come again. If Abraham should die before she could return, everything could change. She felt an urgency in the air, despite the disapproval of her mother and Laban.
    She took a deep breath and glanced from one brother to the other. Bethuel’s smile and nod of encouragement lifted her spirits, reinforcing her courage, assuring her that her decision was right.
    “I will go,” she said, meeting the servant’s gaze.
    Her mother’s desperate cries followed her words.

    Rebekah fingered the loom her father had given her, memories washing over her of working at it side by side with her mother and Laban’s wives. She would miss the camaraderie, the laughter, the commiserating among the women on how to live with their men. Only Deborah and Selima would go with her to her new home, a new country where everything would be unfamiliar and challenging. She sighed and set about quickly breaking down the pieces of the loom, fitting them into leather sacks to pack and hang from the camel’s side.
    “So you are truly going.” Her mother’s plump body cast a shadow as she passed the threshold and crossed in front of the window, her tone holding traces of bitter emotion.
    Rebekah could not bear to look up and meet her gaze, lest she give way to her own uncertain tears.
    “Yes,” she said, turning away from her mother to the wall where woven baskets stood. She hurriedly transferred skeins of dyed wool from the baskets into goatskin sacks and tied them at the neck. She looked up at Selima’s approach.
    The girl seemed to sense the tension in the room, stopping short just inside the threshold.
    “Can you take these to the men, Selima?” Rebekah hefted the heavy sack of wool into Selima’s arms.

    “Yes, mistress.” She glanced over Rebekah’s shoulder. “I will be back for the loom.” She hurried through the open archway while Rebekah looked to see if she had forgotten anything.
    “I wish you would wait.” Her mother took a step closer, within arm’s length.
    Rebekah faced her, surprised at her mother’s sudden change of tone. She was not one to show emotion, nor had she seemed to care much for Rebekah’s feelings. But one look into her mother’s eyes showed Rebekah a side to the woman she had rarely seen.
    “I know, Ima. I will miss you.” Despite their differences, it was true.
    Tears glistened in her mother’s eyes, though she quickly blinked them away, and Rebekah stepped forward slowly, awkwardly, and pulled her into a warm embrace. “Don’t cry, Ima.” She swallowed, forcing back a sudden swell of her own emotion. “Surely we will see each other again.”
    She needed to believe their goodbyes were not permanent.
    “You will not be back. Abram and Sarai never returned.” Her mother stepped away from her embrace and crossed her arms, a posture she used whenever she was determined to get her way.
    “Abraham and Sarah,” Rebekah corrected, noting the scowl deepen along her mother’s brow at the mention of their new names, “were not able to return, but they were much older. Surely their son will find traveling for a visit no hardship.” She would not let her mother dissuade her. She mustn’t!
    “Why did he not come here himself to claim a bride? Why did not Abraham send the son with his servant?” Her mother whirled about, her back to Rebekah,

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