Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)
TITLE: I Laughed
By Yvonne Blake
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I turn back into the tent, out of the heat and wind, and brush a loose hair from my face. My skin is no longer soft and young. It's tougher than a goat's hide and more wrinkled than a camel's knees. What can you expect from a ninety-year-old woman?
"Sarah! Sarah! Look, there is someone coming!"
I push open the flap and squint against the bright sun. In the shimmering heat waves, I see the shape of some men walking toward our tent. I subconsciously brush the dust from the front of my skirt. They have no beasts - no camels or asses. They are walking. There is something different about them. Abraham stands and goes to meet them. He RUNS as he gets closer, as if he is greeting old friends.
Has Abraham fallen? No, he is bowing to these men. Who are they? I still don't recognize them as they approach our abode.
"Sarah, prepare some food, some milk and bread and dates - the best that we have. I will have a servant prepare a calf."
Oy! Such is the life of a woman, cooking and serving while her husband sits with his guests. I pull my veil over my face with one hand as I set before them a platter of bread and roasted meat and a pitcher of fresh milk. I feel the gaze of one, as if he could read my thoughts. I am glad to return to the tent. I will prepare a sweet dessert for them to eat afterward.
A woman has her ways of finding out things. If I am very quiet, I can hear what my husband and his guests are talking about. After they chat about the weather and the animals, one asks, "Where is Sarah, thy wife?" I dropped my spoon. It is the one who saw my soul. I know it is. How does he know my name?
Abraham's voice doesn't seem surprised. "She is in the tent."
"I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son."
My eyebrows lift, and my jaw drops. A child? I am an old woman! I have passed my time of bearing children for many years now. I shake my head and smile. I haven't even been with Abraham since . . . Ha! A child! At my age! I pick up my spoon to continue my task, still smiling and shaking my head.
The stranger speaks again. "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old? ?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Then I know. This is not merely a man. This is the angel of the LORD. My heart pounds and my palms begin to sweat. Abraham must not know that I doubt his God. I take a deep breath and lift the flap. Bowing myself to the ground, I whisper. "I laughed not."
He looks at me. “No, but you did laugh!”
My cheeks burn with shame. I press my forehead to the ground and tears burn my eyes. When I dare to lift my head, they are gone. I am alone. Abraham is with them. They are walking away into the shimmering sand.
A child? I smile. I, an old woman, will have a child!
Scripture quotations - Genesis 18 (NKJV)
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