WeWriWa—Velira’s Birthday Wish

Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, where participants share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m currently sharing from my current WIP, Journey Through a Dark Forest, Chapter 39, “Velira’s Birthday Wish.” Velira has been under her spinster aunt Inna’s care since April 1937, when her father escaped their house with his two small children as his wife was being arrested. Inna is the co-director of the orphanage where she and her little brother Vitya grew up, so it was the perfect place to hide a small child.

It’s now September, and Velira is turning three in the sanctuary of Isfahan, Iran. Velira has just made a wish and asked Inna for permission to play outside in the courtyard. Inna agrees, on condition she not go in the reflecting pool without an adult or older child, not nap in direct sunlight, climb trees, or pick flowers. Velira ends up disobeying one of the rules, but it could lead to the fulfillment of part of her seemingly impossible birthday wish.

Manzura is a young Tajik orphanage girl who was chosen as the translator after the orphanage’s partial relocation. There are a lot of children at the orphanage from distant Soviet republics, but the Tajik language is by far the closest to Persian.

***

Velira scampers outside with one of the porcelain dolls dressed in a traditional Persian outfit which Firuza has given her.  In the courtyard, she sets her doll down in the shade and has a long conversation with it, then turns her attention to the pheasants having a dirt bath.  After the pheasants have gone, she sees a snake slithering through the garden.  Ínna has told her that most snakes aren’t poisonous, but Velira doesn’t want to take any chances.  She disobeys the order against climbing trees and heads into her favorite tree, an acacia, her doll tucked under her left arm.  When she’s up high enough to reach the ornate stone wall around the courtyard, she climbs out onto the top of the ledge.

As Velira is looking down at the designs on both sides of the wall, which include birds, flowers, trees, and shapes, she sees a stream of people heading towards the nearby bazaar.  Ínna hasn’t yet taken her to the bazaar, for fear she’ll get lost in the crowd, but Velira enjoys watching people on their way to and fro, and looking at the colorful foods and crafts Ínna and Manzura bring back every week.

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