Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CROWD (07/06/17)
TITLE: A desperate Plan
By Holly Westefeld
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While I treasure the sense of Father's presence that holding the mirror gives, I wish I could block the flood of memories from that dreadful year that so often follow. Returning from his Spring journey to Lebanon to purchase goods to sell in Jerusalem's marketplace, his caravan was beset by thieves. They fought them off, but despite the best physicians' ministrations, Father died from his wounds.
My next separation after his death continued longer than normal, which Mother dismissed, at first, as stemming from my grief. When weeks became months, though, she again sought the aid of Jerusalem's finest physicians, to no avail. Our prayers went unheeded. The final heartbreak, as winter set in, was Mother taking a fever and being laid to rest beside Father.
My eldest brother, who continued to run Father's business, took possession of our parents, home, consigning me to a small room at the back. When my situation had not changed after a year, he released my betrothed, Simon, from the marriage contract. I think he truly cared for me though, as he has never married, and last I heard, had left the family's pottery shop to study under some newly popular rabbi.
Tired of my increasingly pallid reflection, weary of life itself, I tuck the mirror in to the folds of my skirt. I will not leave it behind for my covetous sister-in-law, who often reminds me that one unclean as I, only useful for carting waste and trash to the valley of Hinnom, has no need of such a trinket. I tell her, just as often, to ask her husband to bring her back one of her own.
Today, though with no cart in tow, I make my way southward through the narrow streets, heading to the all too familiar gate, but this time not to return. I hear the crowd before I see it, but before I can circumvent it, more people close in behind me. Word ripples back through the throng that Simon's rabbi, Yeshua, has been sought to touch and heal a ruler's dying daughter. They speak of others He has healed. If this is true, and if Simon ever did care for me, why has he nought sought His aid for my suffering?
I dismiss that question, and alter my plan of desperation. As thin as I have become, I slip through the mob with relative ease. Finally I spot him. Surely, if I can but reach Him, even the hem of His cloak, maybe, just maybe... But what if I am recognized? What does it matter? They can't do anything worse to me for defiling a rabbi than I have already planned to do to myself.
The crowd presses even tighter here, and I must jostle to get close enough. I thread my arm between the last few layers of people, stretching, stretching... I touch it. An incredible warmth flows through me, and I know! My suffering is over!
But then He turns. "Who touched me?"
I try to slip away, but no space remains. His followers chide that He is pressed on all sides, but His gaze rests on me. As others see where He is looking, somehow the crowd parts. I throw myself at His feet, pleading for mercy, telling Him everything. His words of grace flow over me as another wave of warmth, and I rise to my feet.
Then over His shoulder I see Simon. His gaze drops when our eyes meet, as if in shame, but lift again, twinkling with joy and hope.
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