Scarlet

12:07




I wear the shame of my actions as boldly as the purple that adorns my lips. The purple of a black berry that when squeezed, oozes its dark nectar and leaves a purple stain. A stain like that which my actions left; only I can’t wipe it off with soap and water; no amount of scrubbing will erase this tint that draws hateful glances, snarls and disdain wherever I walk. I hear the cruel whispers, the venom coating their words gliding to my ears no matter how low the octave.
Their words are like a serrated blade to my soul. Both their eyes and words work in tandem: the eyes to reveal my sin, their words the daggers to crucify me. 

I keep my eyes low when I walk; other days, when I have the courage, because there are days when courage fails me, I look upward toward my destination. Still, I feel the ardent heat of their stares all over my body; they search every crevice, dig through every pore, and with the precision of a scalpel, unknot every thread that holds my secret together. They reach inside of me and touch, and grope, and squeeze, and pull, unbothered by the fissures they leave behind; and when they find what they are searching for, because they can always find it in me, their eyes, like a thousand fingertips, travel up my throat, scrambling against each other, competing to be the one to force my gaze to theirs, to enter through the gates of my soul and set me on fire. 

I lose my breath around crowds. My body trembles uncontrollably, my lungs begin to seize. My temples throb, my throat becomes sand; there’s a hellish heat that ignites around my neck and I feel needle pricks all over my body. But even now as they follow me I maintain my composure. It’s a double-edged sword to feign nonchalance; it shields me, but it’s a porous border. My nonchalance emboldens the vitriol; yet if I were to crumble, they’d feed off of my carcass. They’d win. 
Even my hair causes them to grimace, carving their faces in a satanic scowl that arrests my blood. Shake it off, I tell myself, willing the blood in my legs to unfreeze so that I can keep walking. 
Her hair is demonic, an unnatural colour. A halo of praise to her father down below, the women shout. A tribute to the sin of her flesh. She ought to be stoned to death, to purge the evil from our midst. The crowd is unrelenting; they hold stones in their hands, ready to administer justice. 

We stumble in front of a man teaching a smaller crowd. One of the men in the larger crowd hails the teacher, calls him Master and speaks of my shame. My entire history laid before the young and the old, those who are veterans in religiosity and those still infants. 

I’ve heard of this Teacher, but only in passing. Surely He cannot free me from a fate that I deserve. I know the law, of course; it’s very clear.  Admittedly, knowledge of it hasn’t stopped me from stepping out of its boundaries.

The crowd is in a frenzy as they speak to Him, gesticulating, spitting, some with faces swollen with rage and ready to carve an example out of me. I am trying to maintain my composure but my body can’t stop trembling. I look to the Teacher and watch as He stoops down and begins writing in the dirt as though He has not heard them. Is He writing the words of the law in the ground to seal my fate? Rising up, He faces the crowd and says, “ Let him without sin among you cast the first stone at her.” Again, He stoops down and continues writing. 
I look at Him, flummoxed. The silence of the crowd is deafening. I almost feel faint as its sound merges with the rush of blood in my ears. For a moment I think I’m going to faint. 
My eyes land on the crowd.  There is resignation, and simmering anger. 
Slowly, the crowd begins to turn away, dropping stones as they disperse. I watch as some rocks, quite large in size, kick up dust as my accusers drop them dejectedly. There is an unrelenting pressure building on the bridge of my nose. I feel a whirl of emotion rise up my throat.  The Teacher rises up again, and looks about, and then His eyes land on me. “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?” He inquires. 

“No man, Lord,” I reply, my voice shaky. 
“Neither do I condemn you,” He replies. “Go, and sin no more.”

I want to tell Him that I don’t deserve His mercy but I succumb to the barrage of emotions that bury me under waves of tears. I taste the salt, and with trembling hands, wipe the stain off my lips. My lips can barely form words of gratitude, but He knows. Even as I manage to walk away, He knows. There is a glow inside of me that I don’t quite comprehend; and as I allow it to sweep over me, all that I boast in, even my shame, is turned to dust. 

I feel like a prisoner that has been set free.



                                                                        Isaiah 1: 18 (NIV):

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.”

You Might Also Like

1 comments

  1. My favourite piece thus far! You are blessed Chenai!

    ReplyDelete