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Goodbye Jesus



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There was a girl and she had a baby.


That is what happened; but this is the story.


There are tales passed down through history we recognize. They all start this way, someone is born. They all end this way, someone dies. What happens in between is optional, changeable. Events get jumbled; details are lost and added respectively. Such changes are called lies by the less enlightened. There are only two truths in stories though. Someone lives. Someone dies. All else is fiction.


There was a girl and she had a baby. Entire religions are based on this simple outline, this rough tracing of plot. Of course, the worship is in the details. Some stories need adjusting. Everyone knows how fairy tales begin with once upon a time. Only a few know that in some translations, Cinderella’s stepsisters cut their toes off in order to fit into a certain shoe of unknown materials. Only a few know that is some translations, Little Red Riding Hood started out as a child prostitute. Only a few know that in some translations, Sleeping Beauty is raped in her eternal slumber by the prince, and does not even awaken when giving birth to the result of that unconscious union. They phrase it so nicely though. Once he had gathered the fruits of love from her…I think that’s how it went. Only a prince could rape so elegantly.


There was a girl and she had a baby. This story is not about the baby. There are other stories for that. This is about the girl. These are the untold details. The messy stuff. Inelegant.


There was a place in the desert, where the girl lived a normal sort of life. She was brown haired, brown-eyed, and slim bodied from lack of food. She was thirteen and betrothed to a man her father had introduced her to when she was nine, a man with kind brown eyes and large, gentle hands. She was thirteen and it had been almost a moon since her very first menses, which meant that in two days, when her betrothed journeyed back from Galilee, her father would present her in front of the high priest and she would be married. Her name was Gilah.


On that day, Gilah had been released from her household duties in order to visit her cousin, Elsahbet, with a skin of wine and a basket of the dry, hard oatcake her mother had made that morning. Her brother, Eli, had agreed to escort her across the fields to Elsahbet’s tent. So they walked, Gilah trailing behind her brother, the basket of oatcake swinging by her side, the wineskin a warm presence in the satchel against her stomach. She walked carefully, her bare feet making no sound. Her brother’s sandals slapped sharply against the ground in front of her, and she wished fervently that she had a pair like Eli’s, of carefully shaped wood and brightly dyed thongs. When I am married, she thought, I will ask Joseph to make me a pair of sandals. Her steps slowed as she considered what colour her thongs should be.


“What is keeping you my sister? You walk so slowly, we shall never get there before sunset,” Eli said.


Gilah blushed and promised to walk faster but Eli shook his head. His dark eyes looked her up and down.


“You are a woman now,” he said. “I should not have to hear your apologies. You must walk in front of me, and if you go too slowly, I shall tread on your heels.”


So Gilah, much ashamed, walked in front of her brother, making her strides longer, her movements quicker. The basket of oatcakes bounced at her side. The wine sloshed noisily. After a while, Gilah felt a sharp pain on the back of her left heel, where her brother’s wooden sandal scraped against the tender skin. She started to walk faster, keeping her head lowered. Behind her, she could hear Eli breathing harshly.


You don’t really want to walk this fast, she thought, you are just being spiteful. She started to walk even faster, hoping that if her brother tired quickly, he would end the humiliation of making her walk first. Eli’s breathing got louder and louder. His breath blew sickly hot across Gilah’s neck and she yelped as his sandal came down once again on her heel.


She was running now, the basket of oatcake dropped into the dust as her legs pumped and her shift bunched around her thighs. Behind her she could hear the slapping of her brother’s shoes, faster and faster until he caught her around the waist and dragged her to the ground. The wineskin split against her side, soaking her skin and filling the air with its heady scent. Gilah braced herself for a blow, but instead she found her wrists pinned to the ground, her shift pulled even higher around her thighs as her brother panted against her cheek.


His breath smells like almonds, she thought madly, as a great weight crushed her chest. For a moment she could not breathe, the sky seemed to dim and a great buzzing sounded in her ears. Then it was over, the great weight left her and her lungs worked again. She lay on the ground, silent, bewildered. Her brother looked at her, his dark eyes flatly showing nothing.


After a while, Gilah got up. Her hands pushed her shift down, over her legs. The wine stain spread over her thighs, darkening the white cloth, hiding the blood Gilah could feel trickling down her leg. They looked at each other, and Gilah wanted to say Eli’s name, scream it out, ask him why.


She did none of these things.


Eventually the siblings started walking again, side by side. When they reached Elsahbet’s house their cousin met them with welcoming arms.


“What happened?” Elsahbet asked, embracing Gilah tightly, despite the girth of her pregnant stomach. “You are wet and your robe is stained.”


“I was clumsy,” Gilah said, “and I tripped on a rock and broke the wineskin and spilled the oatcakes that mother sent with me to give you.”


“Silly child,” Elsahbet scolded, but she did not look upset. “I want your company more then oatcakes. Zachariah has been away for days and his servants tell boring stories. Tell me what is happening at home. Are you prepared for your wedding? Come, you can help me shell these beans while we talk.”


The cousins talked and shelled beans, and after a while, Eli retired to bed. Then Elsahbet set aside her work and came to Gilah.


“What is wrong my joyful one? I have never seen you so distracted. Your eyes look like they have seen the wrath of God,” she said.


And Gilah tore at her hair and cried, “O my cousin I have been befouled and now my husband will divorce me and my father will denounce me and I will be made a whore amongst women.”


“Who has done this to you?”


But Gilah could not speak his name. “What does it matter? What can I do now? I am disgraced.”


And Elsahbet wept with her cousin through the night.


The next day, Gilah returned home with her brother. They did not speak to each other and Gilah spent the evening surrounded by her sisters, who dressed her in their best clothing, rubbed her hands and feet with sweet oils, and talked to her of love. Gilah listened to their stories, her stomach sick with fear, and her sisters laughed to see her so nervous.


“It will be fine,” they said to her. “You will enjoy it eventually.”


But Gilah knew it would not be fine at all.


That night Joseph came to her, just as she remembered him. His eyes were still kind, his hands still large and gentle. Perhaps he will understand, she thought.


“My husband, I must tell you something,” she said to him.


He looked at her, smiling. “What must you tell me?”


There was a girl and she had a baby. Who knows how brothers turn into angels bearing messages from God, or how blood turns into Holy Spirit? Who knows how tearful confessions become visions or panting breaths become hymns of praise? Those are details. This is the story: There was a girl and she had a baby.


Some translators have pointed out the change of the infant’s name. Immanuel. Iesus. Those name changes do not interest me.


There was a girl and she had a baby. The name of the baby does not matter. The girl’s name was called Gilah. But her name was changed.


Now they call her Miriam, Marylm, Maryem, Maria, Mary....


The Bitter One.





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Now you've made me cry!


Do you mind if I send it to Dennis in case he doesn't see it? I don't think he's been around lately.

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Go ahead chef. I don't mind. :grin:


Tissue? *offers*

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Cerise: very very well done. You have a true talent for writing..

I was mezmerized..






you do realize that just a few hundred years ago, you would have been burned at the stake for writing this story?


I haven't spent any time at all in "creative works". I see now I'll have to visit more often.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is an excellent story.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Dragonblade

An excellent talent you are Cerise. Who's to say things didn't happen just that way? One of the things I like about this is it is something I've never given any thought to, and for this I thank you. Very few people I've met have given me much food for thought.


Again, thank you for sharing such a thought provoking idea.

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Wow Cerise,


That is a fantastic tale! I really enjoyed your writing style and what a great take on an old story.


Very well done. Thank You



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