~ part eight ~
“Why wouldn’t you tell me?” he asked finally.
“I don’t have anything to say,” Em said. “Henry was very ill. Thomas was a baby. I got pregnant. That’s what I know.”
For a moment, George watched her.
“Was the baby Henry’s? Probably not, but maybe. Yours? Possibly, but we were together only twice. Or . . .” Em looked away from him. “In 1681, I couldn’t have conceived of the science we know now. Eggs. Sperm. Moment of conception. Little tests you buy at the store. All of that.”
“I fell pregnant. And Henry was still ill, and Thomas was still a toddler.”
“Something else happened,” George said. “After I left?”
“You were in Salem Village.” Em made a slight nod.
“Indians?” George asked.
Em nodded. George looked at her for a moment and then nodded.
“Henry was ill,” Em repeated. “Thomas was a baby.”
“Why didn’t I know?” George asked.
“Your Hannah had just died,” Em said. “You were confused by Henry and Thomas. You had three babies who desperately needed their father and a bickering congregation and all that ridiculousness about your payment.”
“They wouldn’t pay me,” George nodded. “I had to take out loans and . . . We were broke. The pressure was . . .”
“Tremendous,” Em said. “I wanted to be a place of peace and joy for you. I wanted to be the place where you felt your burdens lifted, if only for an hour. I needed my own burdens lifted. I looked forward with tremendous joy to your visits, even if we only drank tea and talked about Christ.”
“I did as well,” George smiled. “My time with you has always been the highlight of my life — then and now.”
“Takes three hundred years to finally talk about it,” Em said.
“Benoni was a wonderful person,” George said. “He came every night to take care of us that first year, after you had left for Boston.”
“I took him home to England with me,” George said.
“And came back with his daughter,” Em said. “I know.”
“She was like a granddaughter to me,” George said.
“Why did you marry Sarah?” Em asked.
“You had Henry,” George shrugged. “He was ill, but he wasn’t dead. Thomas was young. I was a pastor with a large congregation and three children under the age of three. I needed a wife. Sarah had just been widowed.”
Suffer a Witch continues...