My feet hurt. I bruise them on the rough rocks. I have no sandals.
She hit me again this morning. Father isn’t there to stop her anymore. Shame fills our household. It is not long without him. I miss him, imperfect as he was. Even as a thief, he was still my father.
The Romans had him for a time.
Now none of us have him. He is dead. Crucified.
She screamed at me. I flung the pitcher of water in her face and ran.
I am still running.
Running away from home. Running to the tombs. Running until I stop crying. I know there will never be enough happiness in the world to stop the hurt.
Dawn is but a thought on the horizon. Cold curls about the bottom of my tunic. He is buried here, in the tombs. Not the nice ones, the rich tombs where men are laid to rest with perfumed linens, but in the thieves’ tombs beyond.
I stumble and fall, tearing my hem. I cannot rise again. Covering my face with my hands, I sob. My shoulders shake so hard, the ground seems to rumble.
Then, I realize… it is not me.
The earth shakes beneath me. I turn slowly toward the nearest tomb. The soldiers in front of it step back as stones bounce under their feet. We all watch, mystified, as the enormous stone slab over the entrance rumbles. A crack appears and widens, sending them back several paces.
I am so terrified I cannot move.
Soon, the tomb is open. Shaking hands draw their swords.
He is not wrapped in linen, nor does He wear the clothes of His execution. His face shines like the sun and the hands that extend toward the soldiers are scarred. I see right through the holes in them, the same holes my father’s hands bore when they brought him down from his cross.
I remember this man. He was the one driven through the streets with my father, taken up to the mount to die, the one they called the “messiah.”
He does not touch them, but the soldiers crumble as if dead.
I tremble in the grass as His eye falls upon me. The hem of his garment is white, his feet bearing similar scars to his hands. He stands in front of me. I look up at him wide-eyed, tears still trailing down my face.
“You are the thief’s daughter,” he says.
I know those eyes, though I have never seen them before. I know that He sees into me. I am comforted. I nod.
Those wonderful eyes, those endless eyes, soften. “Fear not, he is with my Father in Heaven.”
I shut my eyes as fresh tears leak through them. Wind tousles my hair. When I open them again, He is gone.
Rising, I set off for Jerusalem, not understanding the happiness in my soul. I pass a group of women on their way to the graves, carrying jars of ointment and linen. I stare after them, their bent shoulders, their pale faces. I want to cry out after them, “He has arisen! The Messiah lives!”
Instead, I watch them until they disappear. And with a song in my heart, I go home.