The Denial of St. Peter

“Are they going to have an execution?” The girl asks while the fire spits about her and the Ethiopian. He shushes her and shakes his head.

“He’s too popular. People wouldn’t stand for it.”

“Does Rome care what people think then?”

“Rome doesn’t, but Pilate cares very much what people think.”

“Because he is kind?”

“No, girl. Not because he is kind.”

“Why then?”

“You will understand one day.”

Shadows flit about their faces while men’s voices blast in larger circles off in the darkness. When the fire leaps up, it reveals – some ways off – Jesus of Nazareth, bound, surrounded, and looking anything but popular. Escape seems to be the last thing on his mind, and so his gold-plated guards mutter curses about the cold and fiddle with their spear butts. The girl glances at Jesus, but looks away quickly when she sees that he is looking at her. She had seen him only once before, and then on a donkey. The wind picks up, and the fire burns small and blue – the face of Jesus darts back into blackness and the girl sighs a little, with relief.

A mountain of a man shuffles up to the fire and stands next to the girl, his great hands outstretched. She observes him honestly, for he seems uninterested in her, the Ethiopian or anybody. There is a simplicity to his face, and this simplicity seems familiar to her, but from where she does not remember.

(more…)

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