Simone rested her hand against a rocky protrusion on the shore and waited. Through the salty haze she could just make out the figure of Zebedee standing hands on hips in the lead boat. The bow sat high in the water and that meant they dragged a net full of fish.
She whispered ‘“kaw-vaw” -wait.
He would help the men haul the fish to shore before he came to her.
But Zebedee too was looking through the haze. When he saw who waited and that the water was waist high he leapt over the side, forcing his feet into the coarse sandy bottom, the better to propel his body forward.
‘Simone, Simone you’re home.’
Simone dipped her head in deference towards her husband then looking up into his eyes she smiled. Even in his forties Zebedee made her breath catch in admiration. Here was the man who had given her James and John; who had protected and provided for them beyond her expectations but most of all who had encouraged her, no challenged her to learn the Torah.
‘Did you see Him Simone?’ He gathered her into a salty embrace. ‘Is he the Messiah?
‘Yes my husband I’m sure it is He’. Simone leant back to watch his reaction.
‘But He doesn’t speak of rebellion and anger towards the Romans. It is confusing. He speaks of His Kingdom coming to our hearts.’ She placed her face against his beard; ‘but everything you have ever taught me from the Torah points directly to Him. Perhaps James and John will never return to the boats. Do you mind so much Zebedee?”
Zebedee set her aside and turned towards the boats where his men were hauling anchor just offshore.
‘When He walked up to us that day and called my sons, I minded. ‘
He faced his wife again. “But not because our boys dropped everything and followed Him. No, no, it was not that.’
The burly fisherman squeezed Simone’s hand tightly. ‘I minded because He seemed to be saying something to me - without words He said something important, and all I could manage was HUH?
He paused. ‘I just said HUH? Like a dumb donkey.’ Zebedee dropped her hand.
‘I must go. We will talk at breakfast yes?’
Zebedee moved off towards the Sea of Galilee
“He is gracious and understanding my lord.’ Simone called.
Simone squinted up at the sun. It was rising quickly. She had servants to direct and food to prepare. The men’s would be ravenous.
But her thoughts remained on the empty expression Huh? Memories rushed in like a tide.
‘Na’ar - child, if you say that word again you will go without supper.
‘Hu… what word Mother?’ A younger Simone had turned respectfully toward her mother’s voice while straining to hear what her father and brother, seated outside, were reciting from the Torah.
Before James her brother had started formal education she’d been permitted to sit outside too. Papa would recite the Torah and the siblings chanted back. Sometimes it was an equal challenge of memory.
But now she stood inside. Everything had changed. Simone rested her forehead against the doorway. Now James was learning about the Torah every day and she’d been left without understanding.
Still, she had to be honest; it was not all Papa or James’ fault. She’d aggravated them when she’d kept saying huh?
‘All the time you say Huh?’ Simone’s Papa often grew frustrated.
‘I am asking you what you mean Papa.’
Even then he had not banished her inside. No, Papa had not cried ‘ENOUGH’ until a few years later when on the Sabbath Simone had almost fallen over the rail of the women’s gallery.
It was an accident. When the young fisherman Zebedee, reading from a scroll, cried out ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’ (Ps.37:4 NIV), Simone had pressed her fingers to her mouth. She meant to stifle the cry ‘Yahweh I desire your Torah’, but by leaning too far forward she nearly toppled over the rail.
‘ENOUGH!’ Papa had been embarrassed.
But Zebedee had not; and years later he’d told Simone that he had desired of Yahweh a passionate bride.
It was Zebedee who taught Simone the Torah. And together they taught their sons.
Simone pulled her into the present. Her heart rejoiced. The Messiah had come and He’d looked into Zebedee’s eyes. She knew that He had meant ‘Well done’.
And that Zebedee would come to understand.
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