James "The Just"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 17, 2017

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Submitted: August 17, 2017



The stench of the hateful city permeated the small upstairs apartment. It was four in the morning and the two of them hadn’t slept. James sat slumped over the rough-hewn dining table, head in hands. The woman, pacing the other side of the room, said a kaddish over and over. Her face was blotchy and streaked from crying all day and all night. The others had left hours ago. They left angry, sad and confused, searching for a spark of hope in each other’s eyes or hiding them in shame as they walked home through the Mediterranean night.

James raised his grief contorted face from his hands and screamed mournfully at the ceiling.

“Aaaaaah!!” he sucked in another breathe and it stung his ragged throat as he screamed again.


His mother, startled, glanced over at him but never broke her chant.

Still staring into the ceiling, the grief stricken man beseeched the Lord with shaking hands and bloodshot eyes. His tears mixing with mucus as they streamed down his face.

“They killed him! They tortured my brother... (he gasped for another breathe).. and then they KILLED him, oh Lord!”

The woman quit her kaddish and turned away from her anguished son. She stood silent, living out her own hell in private, choosing not to share it.

James stood up recklessly. The table lifted, knocking over cups of unfinished wine, spilling it onto the plank floor.

Trembling with emotion, James spoke quietly to his mother.

“I want to hear you say his name.”

The sad woman in the black hooded robe said nothing.

“Say his name, mother.” he said again quietly

The woman turned to her son. She looked as if she had aged ten full years. The grieving mother began the old prayer again. Speaking it softly and fast as if it were a charm. One that would ward off her bereaving son.

“Say it, mother.” James barked at her.

She winced at this but continued the prayer.

“My brother’s name, woman! Say his name!” James screamed at his mother, then with a violet sweep of his arm, he knocked the cups and plates off the table. They made an ugly sound in the ugly room as they smashed against the far wall and scattered across the floor. James walked to the door and paused a moment before opening it.

“Why can’t he just be my brother right now?

Why can’t he just be your son?” he said quietly to her but staring at the door. There was no reply.

She heard the door slam closed. It shook her to the bone.

“Jeeeesuss!!” she screamed

“Jeeee sussss!!” she continued to cry out into the empty room, into the hateful city and into the heavens. Mary's body shook with her sobs. Wracked with grief, she rent her robe and then collapsed to the floor, passed out.

James stood on the other side of the door and wept openly.

Across town the Sanhedrin slept comfortably.


© Copyright 2018 R.Guy Barringer. All rights reserved.

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