Continued research for my next historical novel: Peter and Paul.
I am trying to visualize how a simple fisherman from a village in the middle of nowhere, who’d since proven a man of relatively weak character, perhaps even with a yellow streak, would handle himself when tremendous responsibility has been thrust upon his shoulders. Surely, he’d take time to adjust… For a while, I suspect, he’d escape into his memories of innocence and youths.
Chapter ONE (draft, continued)
The Dark Days (excerpt)
Shimon used to enjoy over-night fishing the most. Heaving off with the last rays of the sun dying over Mount Tabor, just missing the peek on the south side. Even from the shore the view was breathtaking. From the shore of Bethsaida—the Place of Nets; little more than a village. Soon after they cast of, they’d watch the night fires beginning to twinkle, afar, long, long ago, before Tiberias grew into a city.
He missed the western breeze carrying them to the middle of the Lake on a broad reach. Just a small sail, knit by his mother and sisters, was enough. They were in no hurry. They had all night. They didn’t have far to go.
His friends, in their prouder moments, liked to call it the Sea of Galilee. It sounded more important. Some sea—from every place on its near-lustrous surface you could see the shore, and not very distant, at that. But it was their lake. Theirs for generations. Sweet water where his father, and his father before him, fished for fresh-water fish.
He was a fisherman then. Carefree.
And then He came. Quiet, unimposing. Just his eyes. There was heaven in those eyes. Infinity? Andrew had seen him first. You couldn’t escape those eyes…
Shimon, He called him, long before He’d changed his name to Kepha. All too soon the Romans began to refer to him as Petrus taking their translation from pietra. The Greeks would give him their own version, naming his Petros, from their own rock or petra. Later, much later, some Gentiles coming from afar would call him Peter. Wherever he’d go, people would give him names of their own. Yes, he sensed the future and he was afraid.
Yet it all happened in just three short years. Just three…
When did He first call me Kepha?
“What? Shimon, you must eat!”
Andrew proffered a wooden bowl of steaming soup.
Later? It all happened in just a few years. Just a few…
He didn’t feel like a rock. He felt weak, fragile, inadequate, scared… like that night on the boat when…
“Shimon?” the sound of his name reached him from afar—perhaps the other shore? He ignored whoever tried to invade his memories. It was good to remember, even knowing what followed. After all, He did come back. He was real…
“Shimon?” this time the voice was louder.
It must have been Andrew with something of no importance. It could wait. Back then he was happy. So happy. No decisions, few responsibilities… His mind drifted back, again, far, far back…“Shimon, you haven’t eaten for three days…”