I've started posting the chapters of Resolution 786. I'll post each successive chapter roughly every 3 or 4 days. Here's Chapter 11:
Fatima Hueghlomm held the heavy receiver of the black rotary phone to her ear, dutifully listening to the determined voice at the other end of the world.
“Fatima, why?” Dora Hueghlomm paused a moment, hoping that her logic would take hold in her daughter-in-law’s mind. “Fatima, why, I say?” her old voice demanded.
“Mom, a lot of my family is still here.”
“A lot of your family is here,” said Dora Hueghlomm.
“Mom, it’s a big change. I don’t want to do this without thinking.” Fatima frowned and brought an open palm against her chest, gently resting it below her throat. “It was difficult when Idi Amin threw us out of Uganda in ’72. With nothing, only our clothes, our lives, Albert drove us across the border to Kenya in his old Mini Minor. Adam was only seven, so scared, so small.” Fatima’s weak, sad words soaked in remorse and loss. “Idi Amin claimed to be a Muslim. A Muslim isn’t supposed to harm another Muslim.”
“So that’s the rule, is it?” Dora Hueghlomm enunciated in hard stone.
“Rules,” Fatima said, a mix of disappointment and anger. “Things were finally settling in Nairobi. And now,” she paused, pressing back tears. “And now,” she stopped again, forcing her way out of self-pity, mustering resolve. “I have to think,” she said sharply.
“What’s to think?” Dora Hueghlomm asked in stern sympathy. “It’ll be better for you.” She waited, letting the correctness of her stance soak in, and then her voice softened, as if the subject had moved to its core. “And think of the boy…the boy…I see Albert’s eyes in the photos you sent.”
“It’ll be better for him,” Dora Hueghlomm argued with the silence.
“America’s so far away, Mom. And I’m alone. What will I do? There’s no one.”
“There’s everyone!” Her admonishment was riddled with tender concerns. And then Dora Hueghlomm sucked in a long, drawn breath in California.
Fatima heard the breath in Africa. She braced.
Dora Hueghlomm released the air in her lungs in a rattled series of jagged syllables. “You listen to me, young lady. I lost my Uncle Leo to those criminals in Austria!” Her voice suddenly verged on shrillness. “I lost my little boy to those criminals in Africa.”
“For what!” Dora Hueghlomm shouted. “For what?” she said, quieter, sadder, plumbing so many deep sorrows. “May you never have to bury your child,” her voice cracked. “How many more times?”
Dora Hueghlomm cleared her throat. Her voice came back into the present with a quite dignity, demanding compliance. “Bring the boy to America. I’m here. Everyone’s here.”
“Mom…” Fatima’s sentence swerved in indecision.
“What, Fatima? What!”
“Mom…I’ll start talking to people about getting an American nursing license.”
“Good girl!” Dora Hueghlomm was elated that an elder’s good sense had been accepted. Her honed words now formed a bold, determined statement. “And I will help with this nursing license bit.”
Fatima Hueghlomm pictured her mother-in-law saying those words, her five foot frame standing like an iron bolt in her perfectly clean, perfectly ordered kitchen in West Hills, California. In her mind, Fatima saw Dora Hueghlomm’s face and eyes harden in resolute purpose as she made the statement and moved a small, strong hand to her waist, grasping her cream colored open sweater on one end and pulling it closed in one sharp, taut movement, a gesture that stamped a seal of finality on the decision that had just been made.
The picture in Fatima’s mind was wrong. Dora Hueghlomm’s sweater was not cream colored. It was light blue.