I am Lazarus. I am. By a different name, but still. See, I was done with this life. Buried for all intents and purposes. Swaddled in grave clothes and everything. Let me tell you something about grave linens. They wrap you snug as a bug in a rug, but then you can't really see, hear, taste, or feel much at all.
This one day, Jesus called out to me. 'Cept he didn't say, "Lazarus, come out." He used my name instead. And he whispered this other thing. Real quiet like. So no one could hear but me.
"Beloved." He called me that. "Believe."
I liked him a whole bunch by then, 'cause really, this was the second time he said my name. Naw. It was more than that. How many days had I been alive by then? It was at least that many.
There weren't a whole lotta people outside the cave grave when I emerged. No one had hired professional mourners or anything. Truth be told, not many folks even knew I was dead. Guess they figured if I was breathing, that was enough.
I walked out, and Jesus took me in his arms. He carefully, tenderly really, unwrapped the spiced linen strips. Then he European air-kissed me, 'cept his lips, all puffy and wine-colored, pressed into my face. Under both cheekbones. At the same time. His fingers caressed my chin as he looked into my eyes. Actually, it was more like he fell into my gaze.
"Beloved." He called me that. "The king is enthralled with your beauty."
Right then and there my knees buckled, and I tell you what. Someone shoulda taken a picture and put it on a romance novel 'cause what we had? What we've got? It's a love story that'll transcend time.