Friday, March 9, 2012

The Woman in Red--Part V

I waited on the shore with the others, as Dan had instructed. Thankfully there was no one I knew. No one with a pointing finger to shout, “Unclean! Unclean!”
            When the boat appeared on the horizon, a shout arose from the crowd.    
            We pressed forward, a solid mass. A single, throbbing creature. For a moment, I considered flight. In the other direction, toward hill country and home. After a life of loneliness, the assault on my senses—shouts and creature calls, manure and perspiration, jabbing shoulders and elbows—overwhelmed me. Plundered the very air from my nose and mouth. In a panic I searched the faces of those nearby. Could they hear the pounding of my heart? Should I flee before my condition was revealed? I shook my head, almost violently. No, I hissed under my breath. Be strong and courageous. This is the day, possibly the only opportunity I will ever have, to accomplish the one thing that might bring me joy. I reclaimed my breath and set my face like flint. Forced my shoulders back and made my way toward the water’s edge.
            As the boat drew near, some entered the lake, no doubt desiring to plead their case first. The noise level increased and nearly deafened me, more cries of distress than anything. Blind were led. Lame limped or were bolstered or carried. A filthy boy, his eyes wide and roaming, his mouth ringed with spittle, twisted and writhed within the circle of his family.            
            Finally the boat came to rest on land with a gritty sigh. The horde of humanity converged on the vessel at all its points.
            "Master! Teacher!" the people cried.
            "Over here, Sir," a woman's voice said. "Please. If you but—"
             "Step away," one of the men inside the boat said. "Back off so we can disembark. Make a way for Jesus."
           I focused my gaze on the greatest healer the world had ever known, or so Dan's  note had said. He looked like any man. Could he possibly be different? Special? I considered the throng, pawing and pushing to get close to him. How might I, a woman alone, create an opportunity to speak with him, to tell him my plight? I bit at my lower lip. There were so many ailments represented here. Everyone of us needed him. Every one. Why would he listen to me?
             Suddenly the group parted. A man in pristine robes stepped through.
            “It’s Jairus, from the synagogue,” someone noted.
            Up ahead I watched the man collapse at the rabbi's feet. The hands he raised to the teacher were both elegant and trembling. Tears rinsed his contorted face.
            “Please, my Lord,” he said, his voice coarse with grief. “My little daughter is dying. I beg you. Please come lay your hands on her so she will be healed and live.”
            I whimpered. His little girl? Is dying? Oh, Lord! Go with him. Save her. I will . . . I do not . . .
            I watched Jesus do as I said. He moved away from me to follow the man called Jairus. In that moment, I felt hollow.
            Soon after, I was swept along as the crowd surged in pursuit of the Master. As it carried me with it, a thought occurred to me. It is not necessary for him to see me or know who I am. If I but touch the hem of his tunic I will be healed.  I stretched out my arm toward his cloak but fell short. A moan escaped me. Again the crowd heaved so that I was pitched up and forward. Suddenly one of the tassels affixed to the edge of his prayer shawl brushed my fingertips. Immediately it stopped—the fountain of blood from within me. I’m healed. Everything inside me knew it, felt it, declared it.
            I held the fingers that touched his garment to my lips, then my chest. I am free. I dropped to the dust. Hid my face in my hands. Wept and worshipped. It is finished. I reached upward. Attempted to hold heaven.
            All around me people pushed and shoved, crushed against, and grabbed at me.
            “Move it, woman. Get up!”
             “Who touched me?”
            Through the din I recognized his voice. Deep. Commanding. My breath caught. I cowered. Watched his disciples survey the area. I straightened. Hurried to the Master. Groveled at his feet. I clutched the edge of his garment. Laid my cheek against it.
            “My Lord, forgive me,” I said. “It was I. Sir, for twelve years I have bled without ceasing. I spent all I had on many physicians and yet my condition grew worse, not better. Then I heard . . .”
            When I dared lift my gaze to his, I gasped. At the depth of love and familiarity in his eyes.
            I gestured weakly toward Jairus. “I saw that you were going to help his . . . And surely her need is . . .”
          I covered my mouth, to stop the words, but the rabbi nodded for me to continue. 
          “Sir, I have not touched anyone in . . . And no man would ever . . . I thought, if I could only . . .”
            My words dried up even as my eyes and nose ran hot. Sobs convulsed my frame.
            The Lord rested one hand on my shoulder. Stilled my shaking. He cupped my face with his other. Warmed me through.
            “Take heart, daughter,” he said. “Your faith has healed you.”
            He extended his hand to help me up, then disappeared with his disciples.
            I spun around. Attempted to locate him again, to no avail. Frustrated, desperate, I labored to keep in the front part of the group. I cringed when I felt the packing between my legs loosen and fall away. I glanced behind me, at the bodies, at the road, but I saw nothing. The evidence of my suffering had vanished—trampled by sandals and bare feet. With a sigh I moved toward the edge of the group to take a sip from my wineskin.  I stood on tiptoe and shaded my eyes to see if there was any sign of the Master in the distance. That’s when I thought I saw— Indeed it was— I bunched my tunic with one hand and waved with my other. Broke into a run.
          "Ada! Dan!" I shouted. "Wait for me!"


Tony said...


Anonymous said...

lovely biblical passage brought to life! Well done!

Aaron said...

Amen! Excellent ending. :)

writingdianet said...

Thank you so much, friends. I'm glad you liked it! Whoooo! That was a lot of work--over and over, back and forth between writing, editing,,, and

Sara said...

I'm not that religious and so, I hope take this the wrong way, but it's a shame women didn't write the Bible. With a story, like this one, who could have resisted.

You made this woman come alive in my mind and her being saved seemed right, even to have had Jesus say, "Your faith has healed you."

It's a beautiful story.

I did quite of study about the man, Jesus. I think you portrayed him very well in this story. Human, but special.

I think you should consider entering this story in a contest. Here's one site to check out:

writingdianet said...

Hey Sara:
I'm definitely going to check out that contest. Someone else said I should enter it somewhere. I'm happy you all enjoyed it that much.


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