Uncertainty: Chapter Fourteen
The wagon wheels traced two perfect lines in the snow as we rolled along the country road. Once the flurries had stopped, and the wind had died down, the crisp air had lost its bite, and riding in the back of the wagon with Eva became more enjoyable. Nevertheless, I was ever so grateful for the double clothes under my coat.
I thought for a minute about what Abba and Eema had sewn behind the buttons of our coats, and massaged one of them through my mittens, but felt nothing out of the ordinary, which made me wonder if anything was even there.
“How’s everyone doing back there,” Onkel Max called out.
“Alles gut1,” I answered back.
“I have to pishn2, Onkel Max,” shouted Eva.
“Really Pony? We haven’t been on the road for more than fifteen minutes,” I asserted.
“But the ride is bumpy and my insides are nervous, Bertie.”
“Is it an emergency?” I asked.
“That’s a silly question,” she shot back.
“We have to stop for a minute, Onkel Max,” I yelled.
“Perfekt3!” he responded. I detected the resignation in his voice.
If anybody had passed us on the road, they would have noticed a middle-aged woman standing beside a horse and wagon, holding Shaina Maidel’s red blanket in stretched out arms. But on the other side of the blanket there was Eva and me, creating two yellow circles in the snow.
All things considered, we were back on the road in no time at all, and with plenty of time before our 10:00 a.m. departure, provided we didn’t have to stop again for Eva.
“We are approaching the town road, so it’s time to cover up,” instructed Onkel Max.
I pulled the red blanket over our bodies which magically made us invisible to the rest of the world. Occasionally, a burst of sunlight would bounce around inside our igloo world, washing Eva’s face with streaks of red light, and then she’d turn invisible again.
“Are you nervous, Bertie?” asked Eva.
“About what, Pony?” I considered.
“About taking care of me,” she answered. I thought I saw a glint of her sly smile.
“Should I be?” I was getting nervous.
“Well, Abba thinks I’m a handful,” she boasted.
“For me, it all depends on what’s inside your hand,” I suggested. “For instance, if your hand is filled with dirt and worms, then I guess I’m a bissel nervous. But if your hand is filled with shokolad4 and raisins, then there’s nothing to be nervous about.”
“What if my hand was filled with shokolad worms?”
“That’s a silly example. Who doesn’t like shokolad worms?”
Eva cracked up and so did I. I think that being outdoors for the first time in a month probably made us a bit giddy.
“I can hear you from out here,” shouted Tante Ilse. “You will need to keep your voices down since we’re approaching der platz5 in eine Minute6.“
“Okay, Tante Ilse!” shouted Eva.
I shook her leg to get her attention. “Remember. You’re a handful of shokolad.”
“And now it’s all melted and gooey,” she claimed, and mimed a hand smear on my coat.
“Not another word!” I hissed with an edge.
“Okay. I’ll stop.” she said abruptly.
After another flash of light under the blanket, I caught a flash of Eva zipping her lips.
1All good, just fine