He Touched Me
by Nellie Shani
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Amos laughed loudly exposing tiny discolored teeth against pink gums. His sightless eyes, stared blankly ahead of him. His narrow shoulders moved up and down as he laughed. He stroked his long now graying beard with his left hand while his right hand groped on the ground for his cane and his wooden cup. He could not afford to lose those two items. They were his livelihood. He moved them close to his side as he turned towards the direction of Micah, his childhood buddy and friend. Their robes were quite dirty from sitting on the dusty ground from morning up to evening and their skin was tanned from hours of sitting in the hot son. Their sandaled feet were cracked and dirty and their toes nails were broken and dirty from stubbing their feet against a stone from time to time. Micah spent most of his day cracking jokes while Amos spent his time laughing. They would only keep quiet when they heard foot- steps. They would quickly change their tone of voice to sound as pitiful as they could muster. “Help a blind man! Help a son of Abraham.”
It had been a rather hot but quiet day and the normally busy road did not have much human traffic on it. An empty road meant hunger not only for the two blind men but also for their wives and children. “Where do you think everybody has gone today Mic?” Micah blinked, his empty eye sockets creasing. “I hear that Jesus was going to be in Jericho today,” Micah said in a high- pitched voice. He took his stick and tried to scratch his itching back. He continued, “You know how popular he is. Whenever he gives his talks, the whole town comes to a stand still.” Amos shook the one coin in his wooden cup absentmindedly. “What do you know about this Jesus?” Micah was known to exaggerate and Amos hoped that he could get some truth from him this once! “Well I hear that he blows fire out of his mouth and…” “Cut it out Mic!” Micah heard the seriousness in Amos’ voice and cleared his throat. “Well, I hear that he can heal blind eyes and make the lame walk. I hear that he is the Messiah that Israel has been waiting for.” “Do you really believe that?” Amos asked, wondering why his blind friend had never suggested that they look for Jesus. “The evidence is pretty convincing. I have a neighbor that says that he was there when Jesus healed a man in the synagogue. I hear that the Pharisees were pretty mad!” Micah responded. Amos’ mind was racing! Could it be that this Jesus is the man he had seen in his dream? He had not mentioned his dream to anyone, not even his wife. However since the dream, he had become more distressed about his condition. He did not tell anybody about this. He just suffered quietly.
The dream had been very vivid. In the dream a man had come and touched his eyes. All of a sudden he could see. He had seen his wife and children for the first time…but it was only a dream. He was very disappointed when his wife woke him up to get ready to go to “work.” His wife usually led him and Micah to the side of the road while it was still dark. She took turns with Micah’s wife. The only difference for him between dark and light was that when it was dark, the world was quiet. Whenever he started to hear people walking and talking, he would know that it was daytime. “Do you ever wish that you could see?” Amos asked Micah, hoping that Micah would take him seriously. “I hear that Jericho is a pretty dirty place and that we are lucky that we are not able to see it!” Micah said laughing. Joking was his antidote for the pain that lived with him on a daily basis. He remembered when his first- born child was put on his lap. He had felt the baby’s thighs. “Is this a baby or a turkey?” Micah had said it in jest and his neighbors who had come to congratulate him laughed, but he had joked to mask the terrible pain that choked him like a tight rubber band around his chest. He wondered what his son looked like. “He looks just like you!” One neighbor had said. There was nervous laughter. He did not want his son to look like him! He had no eyes! “Yes, I always wish that I could see,” Micah said sincerely. He wiped his wet eyelids and was glad that his friend was also blind.
They heard footsteps as two people walked towards them. “Help a blind man! Help a son of Abraham!” Both of them said, almost in unison. They had been saying that for over ten years. Most times they said in out of habit, not expecting anyone to give them a coin. Something hit Micah’s foot and slid to the ground. “Thank you! Thank you!” he groped in the dirt and and his hand touched an orange peel. “Son of a pig!” He muttered under his breath. He could hear the two men laughing as they walked away. “May your wife and children…” Micah continued when Amos stopped him. “We cannot let the way people treat us bother us Mic. We cannot afford to lose hope.”
Just then they heard a noisy crowd of people walking towards them on the road. “Help a blind man! Help the son of Abraham,” Amos shouted. Micah joined him. They could not lose this opportunity. Crowds were an answer to prayer. Crowds meant a cup full of coins. As the crowd got nearer they shouted louder. This was not a normal crowd! There must have been at least a hundred people judging from the amount of dust they were raising. They held on tightly to their walking sticks and wooden cups. “What is going on?” Micah shouted, hoping that one of the people passing would answer him. “What is going on?” The noise was now very loud as the people got to where they were. “Would somebody tell us what is going on?” “Shut up blind man! It’s Jesus Ok?” Both Amos and Micah jumped up. They could not tell which direction the crowd was moving. Someone pushed Amos as he was passing and he stumbled and almost fell. He grabbed somebody else to stop himself from falling and the person jerked away. “Get away from me!” The man shouted at him. Micah took a step towards the crowd. He did not have his stick or his wooden cup. “Amos, its Jesus!” he shouted. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Amos shouted as loudly as he could. Micah joined him in his high- pitched voice. “Son of David, have mercy on us!” People seemed to be shoving and pushing. The blind men knew that if they fell down they would be trampled so they tried to move in the direction that the crowd was moving, their arms extended in front of them. Each time they leaned on somebody, the person would jerk and push them away. “Son of David! Have mercy! Have mercy!” There was desperation in their voices. “Lord! Son of David!” “Shut up! Go back to your begging!” someone scolded. “Son of David, have mercy!” Amos shouted with all his might, choking from the dust that was in the air.
Hope began to fade away. This was their only chance to get healed yet they could not get to Jesus. Their chance of ever regaining their sight had slipped away. “Have mercy on us!” Amos shouted one last time. Then somebody held his arm and told him, “He is calling you!” It was James, one of Jesus’ disciples.
People made way as the two blind men were led by James to where Jesus was. Amos remembered his dream. Was this the moment that he had dreamed about? Would he really see his wife and children for the first time? “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. People in the crowd started to whisper and mutter things under their breath. “Can’t he see that they are blind?” a man whispered to his friend. “Lord, we want to see!” It was Micah who spoke. The people looked at Jesus, wondering what he was going to do. They had never seen him use the same method twice. Jesus stretched out his hand, one towards Amos and one towards Micah. Then he touched their eyes. The two men looked at each other then at the crowd then at Jesus. It was Amos who shouted first as he threw his hands in the air. “I can see!”
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