A 6 part series leading up to Easter.
Anna smiled. Dawn was rising in Jerusalem as she and her father were sitting on the roof enjoying the sky and each company before the daily duties fell upon them.
“The Messiah will come soon. Did I ever tell you that your grandfather saw Jesus “?
Anna rolled her eyes and smiled. She knew her father was becoming older. As each day passed her father seemed to care less and less about this world. He must miss mother, Anna mused. She could never understand her father’s tight holding to the phrophies and their Jewish heritage. Why couldn’t he simply embrace world with the Romans?
“Yes, at least a thousand times”.
“Anna, one day the Messiah will come. “Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey”.
Everysince she was young her father had quoted the old phrophicies over and over again. To her they were just beautiful stories that were a part of her Jewish heritage.
Her father took a long pause and his eyes misted over. His gaze sifted upward. Anna noticed that he got this way quite frequently. Everyday he seemed less and less with her. Anna worried about her father’s health. Yet he refused to use their hard saved money for a doctor.
“Very soon Anna, very soon”.
Noise erupted the silence. The sound of hoof-beats could be heard, racing around the cobblestone streets.
Her father sighed. “I wish they would leave us alone”.
“Maybe your Jesus will come to deliver us from the Romans”. Anna sarcastically suggested.
But the tone was so slight that it went unnoticed by her father.
“Anna, Anna. You have it all wrong. Jesus is coming to save us from our sins, not the Romans”.
Anna shook her head. She was obviously getting nowhere with her father. He was deeply set in his ways. She eased up from the bench and strolled down the outside stairs to start making breakfast. The Roman solders were already mingling throughout the town, letting people know was in charge. Unlike her father, Anna was used to the Romans. Since she could remember Romans flooded the streets. Their armor metal constantly scintillated in the sunshine.
She began humming as she kneaded the bread for flour. Over and under again. The simple motion was therapeutic and healing. Sometimes she wondered if she would need to care for her father for the rest of her life. She longed for freedom but that was not yet possible in this society. It simply wasn’t fitting for a single-women to live alone unless she was a prostitute. Pulling back the curtains sewed from her mama, she peeked her head out the window. She liked to watch the Roman soldiers make their rounds in the morning.
One stopped at the window.
“Do you have some water to parch my throat”?
Anna nodded. His voice was deep and rich. It was the kind of voice that demanded attention and respect.
“Of course, sir”. What she felt mattered little. To refuse a Roman solider anything would mean punishment and even death.
Thankfully she had a bucket of water by the door that she had collected yesterday. She dipped the gourd in and handed it to the soldier at the window.
He drank eagerly.
“Thank you. What is your name”?
“Anna. It is a pretty name. It is Jewish, are you?”
“My lineage is that of a Jew”.
“What is your name”?
“I like it”.
Luca turned when he heard his centurion call his name. She didn’t want to get him in trouble.
“You should go”.
He turned to go and then he stopped.
“Are you seeing someone?”
“Then meet me tonight when the stars come out under the large olive tree outside town”.
Anna nodded and smiled as he ran away.
“Luca” she whispered the name as she continued kneading her bread. He was far more audacious than any of the Jewish boys that had asked for her hand.
She turned to see her father standing in the kitchen. Anna was startled. She hadn’t heard him. Her father didn’t say a word. He simply nodded to Anna as he strolled to his room to pray. Anna let out a sigh of relief. Hopefully, he didn’t hear the conversation she just had.
That night her father retired early. Anna slipped outside being careful not to make a noise. The streets of Jerusalem were quiet and peaceful. Would Luca be there?