The large stretch of white blank paper lay before her on the floor. Natascha came over to Mia, who was mixing primary coloured paint. Mia was engrossed in her activity, until she heard the paper crumple as Natascha sat down on the edge of the paper beside her. She lifted her head and looked to Natascha with her kind eyes and smiled. "Do you want to try"? Mia asks handing her the large, thick bristled paintbrush. Natascha happily obliges and then pauses, looking at the colours, not sure which to mix. "May I make a suggestion"? Mia asks gently. Natascha nods, tentatively. Mia puts her hand on hers and first takes a red, softly guiding Natascha`s hand to then the green colour and slowly mixes them together on a pallet. Mia continues to guide her hand onto the shiny white paper, so that the thick earth brown colour begins to make an outline. Long broad strokes of the brush so that a head, torso, breasts legs and arms, abstract and stretched out of proportion, but clear enough for Natascha to understand. Mia takes her hand away as Natascha finishes off and puts down the large brush thoughtfully.
"It`s starting"! Issie, a girl with thick curly golden locks comes running over to Natascha eagerly pulling her away. Mia waves to them, still kneeling by the paper and painted earth woman.
Issie hands her a small book, blue book "You´ll need this" she whispers as they stand waiting with the Rabbi, who is reading and reciting from his book, and a priest who is listening with a couple of other girls of varying ages. The hall is opulent in ivory, white marble. The windows let in a light that adds to the celestial feeling. Stairs curve and sweep down from the landing on which they are stood upon. There is a small bang, as the thick light wooden doors swing open and we walk inside. The crowd of people have already gathered and are sitting listening intently to three young males sat at the front. They seem confident and assured as they are explaining meanings. Natascha follows Issie into the crowd to sit down with the other older women. "What are we doing here"? Natascha whispers to Issie, " I thought we were..."
"Shhhh"! Issie quiets her and sits up obediently her little legs and patent shoes not even touching the floor. Natascha`s mother, a strong woman with a kind face and her grandmother, slight in frame yet, as formidable as a mare sit beside her. The Rabbi and priest have seated themselves on the other-side up front, still in the audience, yet close enough to seem of influence. Natascha shifts around in her seat, straining to hear, they are sat so far back.
"In Corinthians 13, there were contentions and strife among them; there were of course suspicions, and jealousies, and heart-burnings; there would be unkind judging, the imputation of improper motives, and selfishness; there were envy, and pride, and boasting, all of which were inconsistent with love; slowness to anger or passion; long suffering, patient endurance, forbearance. It is opposed to haste; to passionate expressions and thoughts, and to irritability. It denotes the state of mind which can bear long when oppressed, provoked, calumniated, and when one seeks to injure us; Love is patient and sweet; love does not envy; love is not upset nor is conceited or arrogant....in what book of the Tanakh, Hebrew bible, is suffering long endured to break down deceptions and illusions around oneself to finally find truth"?
"Well that would be the Book of Job" Natascha whispered to her mother.
"Say it"! Her mother whispered back.
"Yes" Her mother nudges her, till she nearly falls off the chair making people turn round and the young men at the front to look in her direction. Natascha clears her throat.
"The Book of Job".
"Thank you yes," He picks up her cue and smiles back at her, he seems familiar, have they met somewhere she thinks trying to place his face.
"Do you know his name"? Natascha asks her mother
"I think it`s Dmitry" She hushes back
Dmitry continues eloquently to the deadly silent crowd. An hour later he is impressively continuing, but his eyes seem glazed in response to the obedient audience and his fellow speaker is slightly slumped in his chair. The Rabbi is engrossed in his book, checking for facts and the priest is listening and nodding intently. Natascha walks directly past the front row and tries to catch Dmitry`s eye knowing he needs her support, but he is intensively trying to explain meanings and analogies between the faiths and doesn`t see her walking by.