Continued research for my next historical novel: Peter and Paul.
While the challenges facing all the apostles, particularly whose of Peter, were extraordinary, life had to go on. Nevertheless, to reconcile the Teaching with everyday life was more than, at the time, than Peter could handle. His effort must have been directed at staying reasonably sane…
Chapter ONE (draft, continued)
The Dark Days (excerpt)
He made a point of going out, every day, alone, even if just for an hour or so. He hated this commitment to himself, but knew that if he didn’t he’d crawl into a hole and pull the lid over him. He was afraid. He couldn’t even define of what he was afraid of. Not precisely. Perhaps just of not being able to conquer his fear. He almost smiled at the thought. Could it have be that simple?
Yeshûa was never afraid. He walked into crowds, hordes of total strangers, often showing signs of anything but friendly disposition. Yet, He was never afraid. How did He do it, Peter asked himself many a time. How on earth did his do it?
“It’s not real, Shimon,” He’d said. “None of it is real,” He’d often repeated, a mysterious smile lighting up His face, his sky-blue eyes piecing Shimon’s to his soul.
It’s not real…
He was always like that. Nothing seemed to matter much. Not really. Except loving one another. How on earth can one love a total stranger?
It was real to Peter. It was real and, most of the time, scary. That was why Peter went out every day. Since He’d gone, Peter had to conquer his reticence of meeting other people. Especially meeting strangers. His band of men went out to preach, daily, but not he. They understood. He was in charge. He had to hold the fort. Fort? What fort. A mud hut just big enough to hold a dozen people. Yet he did go out. Once a day. He’d never met anyone who’d given him a glad eye. Not since he’d left Bethsaida. His home. His lake. His family. Now?
Even surrounded by ten of his best friends he felt alone.
He looked left and right, and breathed easier. The street was empty. Yesterday he turned left; today he’d go right, wherever it led him. He promised himself that he’d stop stealing glances over his shoulder. At least for twenty paces at a time. It wasn’t easy.
He imagined that He was walking with him—that made him feel better. Much better. If he really concentrated he almost heard His steps—right there, besides him.
“I’m always with you,” He’d once said. Seems like so long ago. Just a few days had past since He left them.
I am always with you…
This time Peter was sure he’d heard His voice. He nearly spun on his heal to see His face. Then he remembered the twenty steps. Six remained. He smiled to his own thoughts. If only, he thought. If only my faith were stronger.
(to be continued)