Historical setting: 563 C.E., Bragda
After I met with the bishop, after my mind was clear of wishes, and my memories were of grief, now I find Nic is not where I expected to find him: just outside, practicing his horsemanship. He is nowhere to be seen. He left an apple for my horse. What can I do but ride back to the inn?
It seems a longer ride alone. Thinking of Nic, remembering Nic. I had asked that this pure and chaste man still harboring his own wish for holy orders help me find my mythical wife with a yellow braid of hair. Then, like the Samaritan saving the beaten stranger on the road to Jericho, he learned that this victim he rescued was his own enemy, The Jew. He shed prayers begging strength to forgive like the sweat pouring off his scalding skin on the ship’s deck adrift in the hot still waters of summertime on the bay. He forgave his enemy. He offered me his friendship.
Dear God, help me to forgive his soldier ways, if he should ever agree that we meet again. Amen.
But now, I’ve laid on him tangible proof of my strange nature– my odd gift of physical life after life. There’s no intricate theology to be spun from the miracle to say it is every person’s fate in resurrection. There are no others of my kind peopling this earth. And I offer no excuse from earthly mortality. I’m just a strange sign to make a physical metaphor of a spiritual truth. No wonder he chose to leave.
My secret wish as I go back to the inn for one last night before I gather my things and ride on to the villa, is that when I take Umber into the stall, there, also will be The Rose. Then I will go quietly into our space in the loft and I will tell him I understand I have made it all so hard for him. What can either of us say? Maybe he will speak or maybe he will just quietly get up and leave then. Over and again I have put him into hard places.
The ride back is a tangle of strange dialogues in my head. What can I say? What has been said? What is known now that was hidden before?
(Continues Tuesday, September 29, 2020)