After the Coast Guard deposited the families back to the marina, taken statements from each of them and recorded the necessary documentation of the day’s events, they left everyone and returned to their regular duty station.
Maryam had arrived and gathered Alondra and Aloise into her arms, as if they were the daughters she’d never had. She insisted the Cohen family had plenty of room and both girls could stay as long as needed while obtaining the necessary legal documentation to become permanent residents or return home to Mexico.
Manny had every intention to jump through whatever hoops were necessary to keep his wife by his side, even if they had to return to Mexico and wait in the proverbial line to obtain permanent status. He vowed never to be apart.
They waited almost an hour before the Ashish’s sailing yacht came into view. The sisters broke into sobs of relief and held each other as they watched their parents lower the sails and motor slowly into the marina, parking in the same boat slip they still had rented.
Without even assisting to secure the vessel, Shira Ashish rushed off the boat and into her daughters’ arms.
Manny and his father instinctively hurried over to help David secure his yacht, along with assistance from Evan and Warren. Within ten minutes they had the boat docked and settled and Jacob stood before David with his hand extended.
“Ahalan, baruka ha-shav,” Jacob said.
Manny was startled to hear his father speak in Hebrew to this man who had been his enemy for many years, welcoming him like a long-lost friend or brother.
Jacob and Maryam had taught their son many languages, saying he needed to remember how far their families had come in three generations since they’d left Israel. Since moving to Dubai, they’d spoken mostly English and some Arabic, and the many years they’d spent in Mexico had the family fluent in Spanish.
Very few people standing near the dock at the marina in Alpena, Michigan would understand the phrase and even fewer would understand the significance. Jacob was extending a message of peace and reconciliation dating back to when both men lived in a simpler time in their lives, before the fighting and violence.
“Harbe zman lo hitraenu,” David returned the greeting, acknowledging that they’d been apart for too many years.
The exchange nearly brought tears to Manny’s eyes, and did bring tears to Shira’s.
Maryam pulled Shira into her arms like a long-lost sister even though they’d barely known one another, and they had a fifteen-year age difference.
“Um… what are they saying to each other?” Aloise asked, probably echoing the thoughts of her sister and Evan and Warren.
“They’re welcoming one another after many years apart,” Manny said, pulling his wife into his arms. “Our families are together now. Everything will be okay.” Manny kissed the top of her head, barely taking his eyes off their parents.
Yeah, everything would be fine now. A peace entered his heart and he couldn’t help taking a tiny bit of credit for what he and Aloise had done by choosing to get married. He pulled away slightly and looked down into the most beautiful brown eyes he’d ever seen. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear.
“What do you say we go home… and come back for your things tomorrow?”
“I would like that very much,” she said.
With barely a word of goodbye to the others, Manny helped Aloise up into his Jeep, backed out of the parking lot and held his wife’s hand the entire seventeen-minute drive home.