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The Land Beyond the Forest 12

Márta was in the kitchen with Herta and Lettie cleaning the dishes. Márta was as discrete as she could be but also asked Herta what had happened these past months.
“ Andrei was quite concerned that he had not heard from his brother. This is why we decided to come visit. Andrei brought the boxes of produce knowing you would share with your neighbors. Andrei is also now into the bread baking business. That's because once a month we and thirty others make a dinner for twelve for the orphanage. The children just loved his bread. He is also baking bread for some of the towns cafes.” said Márta.

Lettie broke in and told Herta to tell what was going on: “Come on Herta tell your wonderful family what has happened. They can see your beautiful furniture is gone. The nice dishes and everything else. You must tell or I will do it for you.” with this she stamped her foot and tried to make a stern face.

Herta just laughed hugging her friend saying: “Lettie you are so funny looking when you try being tough. Now let's go in and sit down with the men. Benjamin has enough Pálinka in him to tell the story of how we became poor almost overnight.”
Márta told the ladies if it were going to be a long night she was going to the truck to get her pillows, blankets and another bottle of that Apricot Brandy!

Herta told her they still had the extra bedroom and bed for them. She and Lettie went in to the room to set it up for guests while Andrei went to the truck with Márta. Márta clued Andrei in on what was going on and he agreed to fetch another bottle of Pálinka.

Benjamin told his brother and Márta how they had come to this poverty. The house they rented had a new owner and when they took over the rent was raised triple. Benjamin said they had to sign a one year lease or move out.
That hurt but they signed the lease and just pinched corners. Then Benjamin's hours at work were cut way back so he took on a side job as a handyman.

Herta also got let off at the hospital three months ago. That really hurt as she was being paid well. She then took a job at the cafe in town. That was almost half of what she had received at hospital pay for the same hours. The cafe owner knew of their situation and said she would help a little with the good leftover food she was not allowed to sell if kept overnight. Benjamin appreciated that and did a few little fix it jobs for her without pay.

“We finally had to sell our furniture at first piece by piece to the antique store. They came to the house and made a deal we could not refuse. That included buying everything they could sell and allowing us replacement furniture. That is why we have mismatched furniture and old dishes. I never got rid of the silverware. It was my Grandmother's and I wanted to keep it. Lettie hid it in her kitchen for me. She had extra pieces and we kept that in the drawer then she finally said to keep the items. The bed frames are gone and replaced by old ones but the mattresses are ours. We do have a place for you to sleep.” said Herta with a sigh.

Benjamin said; “This is the final month here at this house, the lease will run out and the owner will not allow us to go month to month. We are ready to just get a cover on our truck and move to the hills living as the gypsy's. We could do that but we still have to eat and purchase gas for the truck.”

“You will not stay in Băile Tușnad anymore. I have a house with two bedrooms. I will move into the smaller room and the two of you will move into the other. You both can find work. I will need someone to help me with my bread baking.”howled Andrei as he poured another Apricot Brandy shot lifting it high.

Benjamin replied:
“ We will do it brother but only if you let us pay some rent. When we get new jobs we will have monies to pay our way.”
The two brothers shook on it and they and Carl sealed it with more Pálinka. The ladies started the plans on the move in two weeks by getting some items in boxes.

Carl said he and Lettie would help them move with their truck instead of having Andrei come back to Băile Tușnad. Márta invited Carl and Lettie to stay at her house for a week. Carl was happy to hear that because they were thinking of selling their home and moving to a bigger town soon.

It was nice to have such good friends. A day later Andrei and Márta drove back home. As they passed the church Andrei looked at Márta and said:” Dear Márta you always say someday. I want you to think about the word yes.”

You are special,
because you
know how to give
everything to
a family to make
every member
feel blessed.

©Julia A Knaake

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