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The departure

The Priels and their off springs settled in the Quat-Cent-Quat they were let by
the flight agency, Everon led the small convoy and Shatz was at its rear guard. A
strange feeling of emptiness dawned upon Shatz, from the moment they left Everon’s
villa; as if it wasn’t he himself that was following the Priels’ car, on their way
to the last ceremony that was forced upon them. Hilla’s marble face didn’t give up
the slightest sign of emotion. A frozen and detached hint of a smile hovered on
her lips, while he watched her getting on the car.
Maybe that’s the cause to that strange feeling of mine… Everon too must have had
some trouble in hiding his feelings although that mask of indifference, which he
managed to put on his face. Although his recent declarations, he’s tied to them if
he would have been left alone, he would have mourned their departure. He can feign
exultation in front of all the others, having got rid of the Priels at last, but
what is he going to do without them? Whom would he trample and humiliate from now
on? Priel is the only one who’s in a afore departure good spirits, although he
lost his chance of an extended term of service, in some other country. He must be
rejoicing his deliverance of the head of the delegation, of Da-Silva who exploited
him so zealously, of the ambassador who was patronizing his wife, the rumors and
humiliation he had to suffer from all the embassy staff. But he remains her
husband, Hilla’s husband…
Everon started to blow his horn when the embassy was still some fifty meters away.
Raya Avisar, Peleg and his wife Tamar popped out of the embassy’s entrance,
walking a few paces forward hesitantly, and then forming a row, waiting
embarrassedly for the rest of the members to join them. Right after them came the
ambassador his young wife Rivka and Ehud Avisar. Their smiling faces were the
proof that “they didn’t sober from last night’s wine” yet. The old feuds were
forgotten, it seemed. If they were not wiped completely off, they were wiped off
for the present moment at least.
Hilla stayed on in her seat holding her daughter on her knees. When the ambassador
and his wife were just a few paces away, Priel went over to the car and opened its
door, urging Hilla to get off. The whole embassy crew with the ambassador and
Rivka his wife in the groups middle, crowded around the Priels, putting a siege on
them. Raya and Tamar pushed forward to embrace Hilla and greet her, pushing Moshe
aside. Everon and Shatz were left behind, at their rear; Everon was exchanging a
few words with Moshe while Shatz watched that strange meeting amazed. The
ambassador extending his hand in vain to shake Moshe’s hand, while Raya and Tamar
were kissing the surprised Hilla on her cheeks. Rivka made a step forward getting
nearer to Hilla, the ambassador was about to turn to Hilla himself, when Peleg
Pushed forward like a drowning man trying to get hold of a life belt that was
thrown to him . He was charging forward pushing everyone aside, the two women, the
ambassador; and before Hilla realized what was going to happen he was all over
her, holding her shoulders kissing her face, pushing her frightened daughter with
his chest. Lee’at who watched with wide-open eyes the womens’ first assault,
panicked, lost her baby dummy and started to cry, her brother joined in weeping
and calling his mother’s name – the good will gesture, the taking leave ceremony
turned into an awkward riot. Priel was the first one to brace himself, he pushed
Peleg away with one hand, helped his wife back to her seat, mounted the car
himself without another word, and off they rode, with screeching tyres.
As soon as the Priels’ car disappeared the embarrassed silence was interrupted
rudely with Peleg’s wife Tamar and Raya scolding Peleg angrily. The ambassador
didn’t comment, but watched his first secretary with a pale face. Shatz bent down
and picked up Lee’at’s baby’s dummy.
‘Shouldn’t we try to…’ He asked Everon.
‘Come on, don’t make me laugh!’ Retorted Everon, ‘who’s for having lunch at the
Corsican?’ He shouted attracting the group’s attention and putting an end to the
short brawl, which in any case was about to end up.
The only one that expressed her open objection was Tamar Peleg, standing beside
her scolded husband with a fallen face. Raya who was still very moved, agreed
enthusiastically, she had to discuss the day’s exciting events it seemed – and
having lunch together would provide the right and best chance to do it; to
exchange views, impressions of that rather short but exciting event, that summed
up the Priels’ stay in the Coast of Hope. When her husband declared loudly his
consent, the lot fell and was decided. The only question that seemed to bother
almost everyone, was whether the expenses would be covered by the embassy. The
Corsican wasn’t any cheaper than the hotel’s restaurant. Thus Peleg who had to
support his wife, and exhibit his solidarity with her, expressed his view on the
financial problem.
‘There’s no need to worry,’ declared Everon taking the reigns once more into his
hands. ‘That event has to be celebrated, that’s first of all, and the financial
problem would be solved…’ He emphasized sending a penetrating look in the
ambassador’s direction. After all they got rid of the Priels at last, although
some of them may have changed their minds since yesterday’s party. In any case
this event should be celebrated, and the embassy budget (for some much important
events) should cover the expenses.
‘Well, no comment, is equal to a positive answer.’ Declared Everon as if he was
deciphering the ambassador’s mute gaze. They were all laughing good heartedly even
the ambassador, Everon got what he wanted – and now when the last hurdle was
surpassed at last, all of them agreed and expressed their wish to set out right
away.
The only one, who didn’t get over the implications of the Priels’ departure, was
Shatz.