My mind wouldn’t rid itself of the memory. Yeshi hurt so badly.
I could do nothing. Nothing to help him.
I stared at my food. Yohanan told me to eat something. I needed my strength. He would return for me, help me take what I wished to his home where I would stay with him and his family. Then he left to meet the others.
“Woman, behold your son,” Yeshi said. And to Yohanan, “Behold, your mother.”
What will I take to their house? What will I leave behind? So many things. So many memories. This table and chair. As solid as when my Yeshi built it, how many years ago? Five? Seven? And the dishes. My beloved Joseph bought them for me when we wed so many decades ago. I still have many of them.
My clothing. The parchments. The walking stick. . . .
But Yeshi. My Yeshi.
Deep in thought, forcing back my tears, I thought I heard a whisper behind me.
What was it the old man said to me, “A sword will piece your heart”? I never understood what he meant.
I do now.
“Mother.” A little louder.
The voice startled me. And the fragrance. Suddenly the room smelled of, of . . . flowers. Like – yes, like roses. Roses of Sharon.
“Mother.” A command.
I knew that voice. When I turned, color drained from my face. The room spun. If he had not caught me in his arms, I would have fallen.
Still dizzy, I let him hold me. The fragrance of roses rose from his robe. He cupped my chin in his hand and lifted my face to look at him.
“Yeshi! But how?”
He smiled. The same smile he always smiled when he spoke with me. “I was given authority to lay down my life,” he said. “I was given authority to take it up again. Henceforth, he who believes in me will live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
I reached for his face, caressed the scars in his forehead. My tears would not stop. “You’re alive! My son. My son. You were dead, but you’re alive.”
“Mother, I must go.” He grasped my arms and held me away from him.
“But . . . .”
“Mary Magdalena and the others are at the tomb. I must meet them.”
“Yeshi! You can’t go. Not now. Not like this . . . .”
“I must. But you will see me again.” He let go of my arms, and his eyes locked with mine. “Momma, I love you.”
Then he was gone. In the time it took for me to blink, he was gone.
But the fragrance . . . the fragrance remains.