The sun catches the dew on the olives, and the branches sway at the behest of wind. Jesus walked by yesterday with a shit-eating grin and a few loaves.
I can’t remember the last time I felt so much nothing.
It was hard staying awake. There were noises in the trees, and Jesus was sweating so much I could hear it. Peter kept stabbing himself with a stone; Jesus told us to stay awake. But he fell asleep cursing the devil, and the thorn in his sandal.
Jesus looked at me with a smile, as if he knew something. Something awful that couldn’t be helped. He doesn’t look at the others that way.
Jeremiah’s ear was sawed off. Peter was never good with a sword. If he were, my friend might not have a head. As it was, God gave him other gifts and other demons.
I’m 30 denarii richer today, and I plan on spending it on Mother. Gennesaret is dried up; no fish. She sat at the temple today and begged between Scripture readings while the sun burned her face. Jesus never asked to meet her.
Yesterday, I died. Mother never got the 30 pieces. They were stolen outside the city walls by vagabonds. They rushed back through the gate with a white robe. It reminded me of Jesus, and that, I remembered, was when I was happy. My feet were clean.
The robe had a face imprinted on it, I remember. It looked a lot like Mother.
They’ll never know I didn’t die. But died to them, well enough. And like Cain, I’ll suffer myself to live alone in the desert. Perhaps the locusts will make me another John the Baptist. And perhaps they’ll eat me alive and save Salome the seduction.
They had me hanged in infamy and oblivion from an olive branch at noon, but I spent my morning sucking wild honey and bathing in the Jordan.
* * *
I feel vindicated, somehow. Jesus called me to the river and exonerated me with wind and water. It was a cool morning, and for the first time, my lips broke into a smile from ear to ear.