Full of Grace (38)

As promised, the next installment of Full of Grace. You can click here to read from the beginning, or to catch up, if you’ve missed any of the story. As always, thanks for stopping by. 

* * *

The day breaks, turning the dark sky purple, then blue. Inside her home, Miriam blows out the candle as light begins streaming in through the window. Tired of pacing, she takes a seat at the table and watches the door, willing Joseph to come home. His strange behavior at dinner was cause enough for concern, but when he left abruptly in the middle of the night…well, all she could do was worry.

She shakes her head. How long had she been sitting like this? How long had she paced the floor? From the time he was a boy to now that he was a man, all she did was worry for him. Was he eating enough food? Was he working too hard? Did he choose the right girl to marry? Oh, a mother’s work surely was never done. This madness though would worry her right into the grave.

The door suddenly opens and before Miriam can even stop herself, she rises from her chair and exclaims, “Joseph,” not knowing if it’s him or not. It is. She rushes to him and hugs his neck. He was taller than her short, rotund body and smelled of perspiration, but that didn’t stop her from pulling him down to her level to hold him. She was just glad he was alive and safe.

“Where have you been?” she demands, releasing him so she can see his face.

Joseph offers her a tired glance before letting his arms drop to his side.

“I went to see Mary,” Joseph states quietly.

Miriam’s mind stops racing with worry and entertains anger instead.

“Mary? You went to see Mary? You said last night there would be no wedding!”

“I know, but…”

“Your father and I didn’t bring you into the world to go sneaking around like this. It was her idea, wasn’t it? She’s beguiled you somehow…”

“Stop…”

“I knew she was no good for you, all those rumors floating around about her and strange men and…”

Imma, enough!”

The severity in his tone makes her stop. He points to the chair and pleads with his eyes for her to sit and listen. Miriam complies as he kneels in front of her.

“Mary hasn’t beguiled me. I know last night I said there would be no wedding, but that was before I understood fully what the situation was.”

With a deep breath, Joseph tells her about Mary being pregnant with the Mashiac and about his “visitation” the night prior. His words are sincere, but Miriam clearly sees how lost the boy truly is. He had been duped by this girl and now she was going to saddle him with her bastard child.

“This is why you should have listened to me in the beginning,” she states, sadly. “Making up such stories of malakhs and now she fancies herself worthy of being the mother of the Mashiac? No, you are not going to marry her. We’ll talk to the priest and…”

An expression of disappointment settles across Joseph’s face and he firmly counters, “No.”

“But it’s obvious she’s lying!”

He shakes his head and rises to his feet.

Imma, my mind is made up. I love Mary and I want her to be my wife. Besides, this is the will of G-d.”

At that, Miriam laughs bitterly. Will of G-d, he says. Did he even understand what that meant? It was nothing but a tired cliché, something people threw around when your husband died prematurely and they didn’t know what else to say.

“We’ll see how much of this is G-d’s will when the people find out what she’s done…”

The disappointment is replaced with fear and anger and Joseph kneels in front of her again.

“You can’t say anything about this to anyone,” he admonishes.

She starts to laugh again, but his expression warns against it.

“Promise me.”

Now she is the angry one, but he is so settled on the matter, Miriam knows she will not win this argument with him. He was going to marry the girl. Though she knows in her heart he is making a terrible decision, she nods her head in agreement, biting her lip to keep from saying anything contrary. She would let him have this, but it didn’t mean Mary would escape her wrath.

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