This is the end of time…
This is how our story begins.
I'd give anything…
If we could only start again.
"Who is my mother?" he asks.
"Where is my mother?" he asks.
His looked straight into my eyes, so ancient, and yet like a newborn at the same time. There's no more glory, no more strength, only broken dreams and lost hopes…
I couldn't utter a word.
He looked straight into my eyes, and then up into the deep purple sky, burning with innocent blood and misguided hatred. Far away upon the horizon, where the land and the heaven meet, the colour turns almost magenta. I couldn't breath…the air seems to be drained by an invisible force. I couldn't move.
"Father, why have you forgotten me?" he says.
"I'm thirsty". He says.
Good bye my love, I say to myself. His face pale, luminous in the sunlight; his torso bloodied with layers and layers of wounds; the sunlight dashes down, sharp as a blade.
"Father, into your hands, I command my spirit." he says, like a whisper.
I wish we had said proper goodbye, and yet…
There's still a slight smile on his face.
I know my time is almost through as well.
"It is finished," he said.
A flash of blue burned my eyes and I couldn't look up again. I have lost count how many people died in this war, this struggle of freedom and dignity. Their spirit passed right in front me. We're at war, and poverty, and diseases are swallowing innocent souls everywhere. Today, I tell myself, today I'm going to lose the two most important men in my life, and at this moment, I see one of them cut the leash that ties him to his eternal misery. Those sturdy hands will never again hold the torch with me, leading the tribe to the safety, or pull me into a hug when my shoulders are shivering. It's all too much to take.
We've both gone too far, and although entirely different, we've discovered something in common between us.
Judas Iscariot, you and I are both losing someone we love dearly, but you're shattered long before he's gone.
I wish I had been able to bring him some comfort, yet death brought the blissful silence.
I held his hands as the whip slashes open his skin. Those hideous wounds mocking our fate, burning my eyes like poisoned venom. I held his hands tighter. I feel like losing air in my lungs…everything starts to look blurry. King Pilate counted till 39, his voice shaking with anger and sorrow. He was a good man, and wise king, but he had to satisfy the crowd, blinded by their rage.
"Forgive them" he looks at me, clutching on to my fingers so tight as if that would ease the pain.
I feel tears burning my cheek. The sound of the whip ringing in my ear, stirring up sands and blood. Every single whip shatters my heart a little more.
"You got the wrong man." Says Peter. They recognized him. The angry crowd is gonna take down each one of the apostle.
"No, I was never with him. You have mistaken," says Peter, louder. The priest and the guards frowned curiously, with a look of recognition still in their eyes.
"I don't know him!" says Peter, insisting.
The guards left. I put my hands on Peter's shoulders. I do not know what to say to a defeated, hopeless man; I cannot stop his endless sobbing and shaking in fear and guilt.
"You did what you could, Peter. He understood when he told you what you would do." I said.
"I had to do it, don't you see." Says Peter, kneeling down towards the east, his expression blank, not knowing what's next.
"One of you will deny me," he says, in a very much as a matter of fact sort of tone.
"just very very soon. " he says. He looks pale, but determined. Flickers of anger are burning in his eyes, yet his hands are sturdy and steps are calm.
"Peter. " he says, putting his hand on the man's head, who's been more than a brother to him. The light of forgiveness and understanding sparkles in his eyes, while Peter wept, all at loss
"And one of you chosen will betray me." He says, turning slightly, glancing at Judas, who jumped out of his chair, furious.
"You bloody know! You know all the time what I'd do." Judas blushed, panting heavily, and everyone around looking at the two of them, confused and suspicious.
"Don't waste your time. Go!" He yelled.
"Look at you, you're pathetic." Judas' face turned completely red. I've never seen either one of them like that before. Surely between us there are always quarrels, but not like this.
"Go!" He simply said. He raised the glass and looked around the room. The apostles are all half drunk now. They've got a content blankness on their face. They worship him. It's true. But he looked around, looking carefully on each one of their faces with a sad, distant smile.
"Drink, my friends." He says, "Drink this wine as if it's my blood."
"And eat this bread, as if it's my body." He says, "Remember, I will always be with you."
I see him, looking at me.
There are noises. I stretch out my arms, trying my best to take in all this. The crowds are on fire as they approach the temple. This is not the way he said it would be. I quietly stood beside him and held his hand.
"It'd be alright. Everything will be alright." I said.
He turned to me, but didn't say a word.
I see Judas standing across from the hall, leaning against the peeled temple wall, exhausted and looking utterly confused, a slight shade of disappointment upon his brows.
The more I spend time with Judas, the less I seem to read him. He's always been a quiet one, with lots of rage inside of him. Always an outside, always observing without participating. Jesus and him are best friends. They understand each other, they finish each other's sentences…they're brothers. "You're my savior and my best friend. Everything I do, it'd always be for you." I once heard Judas say with absolute sincerity. There's no doubt that they formed the strongest bond one can possibly imagine through misfortune and crossed paths…yet lately, they seemed to have secretly formed an agreement to not talk to each other.
I try to break the ice, but under the circumstances, I had to play along and keep quiet.
It was Simon who brought the crowd over on this very day. "They'll listen to you, my lord." He said, "They'll do whatever you ask them to do. You're the glory in their eyes. In their hearts, you're omnipotent."
Jesus nodded at him slightly, a young maiden stepped up and hand him a beautiful stem of violet.
And so another session begins. I wonder what he'll teach today.
"The greatest command of all" he used to say, "Is love. And forgive."
When I first see them in the temple, my heart almost jumped out of my chest. All the memories flood back up into my head. It's been so long, I said to my self, so long. Everything has changed. They world have gone mad, and people are suffering.
"People need something to believe in". I remember my mother saying that to me.
I reached into my purse, my fingers feeling the alabaster box sitting quietly there, and made a decision.
Jesus looks the same as I remembered: always in white robes, light brown hair at shoulder length, always walking in such grace and solemnity as if nothing in the world can defeat him…yet right now he's frowning slightly. All these questions and constant buzzing from his followers wear him out. With all the truth in the world, he's only one man.
"It'd be alright. Everything will be alright." That was the first thing I said as I walked up to him. He's siting in an old, beaten down chair, slightly turned to one side, looking across the hall towards another man with complete trust. I followed his glance and see Judas standing sternly with his brows knotted. He also looks the same as always-always standing by himself, always looking worried. And always wearing blue: the colour suits him. "It's more of a family heritage." I remember him saying that.
It was long time ago. They have both forgotten me.
"Mary." He called my name. My eyes wide open, looking at the man in white coming back from my memories.
"Oh, I thought…" he gave me a "don't say anything" look, and then closed his eyes slightly.
"You could have saved your expensive oil to raise money for the poor." Judas stormed in front of us. "Look, you know what she is. " he says. "She doesn't belong here, and you know very clearly why." I looked up, shocked at what I just heard. Our eyes meet, I see a glimpse of recognition but then, and it's gone. I know my occupation that's not the only reason he's hostile at me.
"This is not your place to criticize her. "Jesus scorned, his voice low yet no one can deny the anger in the tone. "You're but a shallow and idiotic man when you look down upon her." He held my hand, "mind your own business and…she'll be with me."
"Everything will be alright. " I stood up, looking right at Judas. "Don't worry, I'm not against your ideal. Just try to remember, you cannot cure the world all at once. And you're not alone." I said.
This is the day I fell into darkness, losing all hope and everyone precious in my life.
"We have to go, Mary. " Judas told me the night before, his eyes watery and there are faint red glows around them. He's trying his best to fight back the emotions…he's always been the quiet one, sensitive to all creatures created on earth. "we are all equal." He always says, "they consider my race inferior, it's unfair, but you just need to stay out of trouble."
That night, they decided to run.
"Not sure where yet" Jesus says, "Maybe Judea. In a bigger city it'd be easier for us to hide. Find us, Mary. Don't forget us."
"I wont. " The three of us broke into a long embrace and said, which I thought at the time, our final goodbye.
The militia came the very next day, told us that we're not authorized to live on the King's property. "We've got nowhere to go" I pleaded, "and mother is ill."
"Please…"I can't help it but tears made it even harder to see, "please don't make us leave."
They kicked me and burned our house, which was already falling apart, down to the ground. "You're consorting with fugitive," they said. "where are the two boys from Nazareth." They yelled, "tell us, or you're at god's mercy." My eyes were teary with pain, but I didn't say a word.
They put mother in prison and sold me for prostitution. I know mother won't survive for even a week.
I never see my white and blue friends again, at least not until much later. I learned to keep my emotions to myself. I learned not to cry.
It was a mid summer day. Dry, as usual, but the wind isn't blowing so badly. I went to pick up some herbs in the garden by the temple. Mother isn't going to stay for much longer, it saddens me each time I see her grow paler and weaker. And that day I saw them both, for the first time. I was identifying different plants by the wall when I heard them approaching. The boy in white walked in the front, with a bright smile on his face. "Hurry up Judas," he turned to call on the other, "don't be late for the lesson again, you know what your father is like when he's angry."
The boy in blue trying to catch up falls behind.
"Why are you here all by yourself?" the boy in white walked up to me and asked. He hold out his right hand: "I'm Jesus, and this is Judas. " he pointed to the boy in blue.
"Mary. " I smiled. "My name is Mary Magdalene."
I learned that Jesus is from Galilee. Orphaned at young age, he started to work as a shepherd for the priest. He's got boundless curiosity and seems to be able to learn everything with a snap of the fingers. Judas, on the other land, is the priest's nephew. He was the black sheep of the family because of his apparent lack of confidence and melancholy attitude towards everything.
But the three of them got along well. The garden behind the church became their base, their secret.
And life seemed to become much easier. Jesus knows all about herbs and medicine. He said that they're going travelling asked me if I'd like to join. "Mother needs me here." I said, though I longed for adventures with them, and bringing goodness to this filthy world, with them. They helped me care for mother. Mother felt better whenever they visit. I thought this could go on forever.
If only we could start again.