Dara Horn

The Passover seder had been going on longer than Sara could possibly have imagined--and longer than she could possibly endure-- when it was time to open the door for the Prophet Elijah. When her mother sent her to open the door, she actually considered running out the door herself. Every year since she was a child it had been her responsibility to open the door for the supposed prophet of redemption, to open the door to the empty night outside and pretend that someone might actually appear to rescue her. Tonight she left the table eagerly, walking out of the room as the argument between her brother and her mother escalated into a screaming match. This was, of course, after her father had spent much of the meal accusing Sara of stealing cash from his wallet, in front of the guests. As she touched the doorknob, it occurred to her to take the chance and leave the house forever, a thought she quickly squelched. But when she opened the door, she saw a stranger standing on her family's front porch, and held her breath.

It was a woman in her early forties, and Sara was about to close the door in her face when she noticed that the woman looked familiar, though she couldn't quite say from where. And then the woman spoke. "Sara? It's me."

"Have we met before?" Sara asked.

"We haven't yet, but we will. In the mirror, in twenty years."

Sara stared into the woman's eyes, and held her breath. "I just needed to tell you that it will change, Sara. I remember how it is for you right now. I would never have survived if someone hadn't promised me that there would be a way to escape. Next year, you're going to escape."

"Next year?" Sara asked in a whisper.

"Yes, next year. You're going away next year, Sara. You will leave. It will be hard, you will be in the desert for many years, but you will come out on the other side alive and free. You'll even return years later to this house, but it will be different, because you will be different.You will be me."

 Sara breathed out. The woman was beautiful, she saw, even with a few thin streaks of gray in her hair. Her eyes were the same. "Would you-- " she stuttered, "would you like to come in?"

"Next year," the woman said, and closed the door.

 And Sara returned to the table.


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