A/N: Though this is a Bible fiction, it is not exclusively written for Jews/Christians/Muslims/a particular religious group. I, myself, am agnostic. This revolves around a certain scene in Cecil DeMille's The Ten Commandments.
"I shall not be afraid of memory."
She remembers her words so clearly. And she has stayed true to it. She has no regrets.
Sighing, the woman places a pot of stew before the fire, stirring. Egyptian nights are cold. Her eyes flick towards her son, her beautiful son, his strong face, his gently sleeping form. It feels cold suddenly and shivers run up and down, despite the fire that burns steadily in front of her.
Zipporah prays every day, sometimes, even more so than Moses, even more ferverently. She prays for God to forgive her ignorance, her happy bliss in Midian, prays for her husband's safety, our safety, my God, please deliver us from suffering…please, please.
Zipporah has not asked for much, even she will admit it. She did not ask for love, but she has received; she did not ask for beauty, but she has received; nor bravery, nor virtue, but she has—all in the eyes of Moses. She did not ask, even then, even when she saw him look admiringly and curiously at the brave shepherdess; did not ask, when it was clear he was troubled and far away from the world she was in; dared not hope, when he came to seek her—or was it the sheep?—instead of choosing her lovely sisters.
She loves him.
She must have been beautiful.
I will not. I will not surrender. God will protect me.
Moses…Sometimes, she finds it so difficult to be his wife. To know there is a God who loves him more than she can ever love, to know there was once a woman far more lovely in his eyes than she can ever be…And then an inescapable, suffocating fear clutches her heart; she finds herself suddenly forgetting the supper meal, flying to her room, and falling to her knees in prayer, weeping. Deliver me from this evil. I have sinned…help me I beg of you, my Lord, my God. Deliver me.
And he comes home, tired, but happy, and then she forgets. He catches her eye, and looks at her with such undying love…a sign from God, she believes. Her breath catches in her throat, and she longs to cry. It is stifled, of course, lodged inside her throat, so heavy that it might stop her from breathing at any moment. It never does.
She refuses. She is the brave one. Father just calls it stubborn.
Moses, whether he does not notice or whether he senses her guarded aura, makes no comment.
God sends her such beautiful dreams almost every night. You are not forsaken, my daughter, I am with you. They happen more frequently in Egypt. His love is everywhere.
Sometimes, she has nightmares—she cannot remember what about—and when she wakes, her heart is filled with that sickening dread and fear.
In Egypt, they are both tired. But enough—here, mere exhaustion is a blessing. They are not exhausted.
Zipporah looks one more time to her sleeping son. She rises, warm enough now, absent-mindedly gathering things to pass the time.
But the door opens suddenly, and she looks.
She is greeted with a sight she will never forget. She looks steadily at those beautiful eyes, and for a moment, God shows her the exotic Egypt—she knows the scent of myhhr, the wild beauty of the nobility, the cold grace of the royalty, the pale white skin, the blood red lips, the fiery passion—and she understands why. In that whorl of images, there is some sense of right, something in the proud queen that is akin to the Hebrew slaves.
No doubt, the woman before her cannot understand. Already, she may look upon her with disdain.
Zipporah remembers her nightmares, now, with great clarity.
The Queen is beautiful…as he said.
But she shall not be afraid of memory.
Deep down, she knows she already is.
She asks Moses for forgiveness—She could not fill the void in his heart.
And for that, she regrets.