Write On!

That Day in Between

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

by Jen Gregory

Note from the author: I’m well aware of the historical conflict Pontius Pilate represents to the Jewish people. Nothing I’ve researched provides a picture of a man sympathetic to Jesus so much as antagonistic to Jewish custom. I’ve tried to represent that but realize in a two-hour time limit I may have missed my mark, no ill will towards my Jewish friends or their customs and traditions is intended.
 

The scratching sound of quill on papyrus was no solace. Claudia watched as Pontius’ hand elegantly moved over the sheet. From where she sat working her needlework on the large patio the sun flowed down like honey on his soft brown hair. He had such a habit of glowing. She sighed to think that this very quality may have caused her to love this man at one time. The servants came in and out of the courtyard briefly to adjust this or that, bringing dates and raisins or messages. The children ran through at one point earlier in the day. Light laughter reverberating, bouncing off of the weight of agreement between two people who had never truly agreed.

“If it bothers you this much I will send letters Claudia. This is none of your business! I will send letters to Tiberius noting everything that occurred but nothing will change, nothing could have been changed. I had to let the Jewish people have their way, do you not understand that? They trapped me! I would have lost my position, everything we had, gone!” Pontius had said with the frustration of a husband who hated being morally weighed by a wife, especially during  morally weak moments.

Claudia had gazed coldly at him, “And this letter, will the Nazarene live then? Will his mother stop crying then when she reads these? I am not concerned for your position within the Roman government. I begged you not to do what you did. Your fear of man exceeded your fear of damnation and now we will suffer.”

Pontius had dismissed her then, asked her to tend to the children and let him tend to things men in his role must tend to. He thought to himself, she is a fool! An entire population of irate, murderous Jewish people angry at he and his family? He worried at more than what the Roman government would do. Fear had a funny way of cultivating cruelty in men. Pontius had pushed the Jewish people intentionally. The little stunts with the shields had almost cost him his prefect status. Tiberius wrote a nasty letter after that. Pontius secretly wondered who ruled whom.

Jesus, this Nazarene, was a fool. He offered no excuse, no logic, no sound reason why he was behaving the way he was. He never backed down. He killed himself with his innocent eyes and sharp words! Pontius huffed as he stretched his long arms behind his back pacing the corridor.

His chest filled with the roars of a trapped and frustrated man. Did Claudia think he didn’t care? Was she so ignorant of the demands of his position as to not see what had happened. How he hoped Barrabas would be a type of retribution for himself. Their religion was one of murder and contempt. No wonder so many were curious about this Jesus. Who wouldn’t want to be freed of their ridiculous laws, laws that freed murderers so that they could kill another.

Claudia had left him, eagerly. She hated feeling so weak. Her tears brimming, sobs swelling in her throat so that no words could escape, she was bereft. She saw her son, Pilo. His sweet face rimmed with golden curls his lanky legs skipping after his nurse, his feet two perfect motors for his energy, two perfect  feet.

“Please, please send for the Rabbi.” She had whispered to her servant. Go, Tell him we need his miracles here. She turned and sat back down next to her son, the swelling and infection so severe his breath was short and rapid. He had come, at the last moment hehad  arrived with his mother. Claudia had forced her servants away, sent them on ridiculous errands, anything to keep her truth tucked inside of her walls. Roman women don’t call on Jewish men, they don’t believe in the Jewish God and they certainly don’t believe in this Rabbi, Jesus.

Desperation and fear work their own miracles at times.

He had spent maybe ten minutes in her home. Spoke little, touched her son, his muscular brown hands giant swaths of leather next to her son’s white legs. His mother had doted on the boy, singing something in Hebrew Claudia could not discern. Her little boy had fallen fast asleep, finally comfortable and fever free for the first time in days. This Jewish mother spoke nothing, only singing and comforting and gazing at her own son with gratitude.

“Tell no one.” he said, his hand on her arm. She never spoke to him or his mother but nodded her thanks, squeezing their hands as they left. She had knelt next to her son after they left and grabbed his hand, felt his foot over and over, knowing that no god she had ever heard of could measure up to the vast and capable man that had healed her son. Pontius had walked in the next morning to the both of them asleep, that tightness in his chest easing just a moment as he looked at the two, each peaceful and smiling. He did not wake them but went on to his duties for the day.

Claudia had sent a letter.

Pilo is healed. I’ve found the god I will thank for it.

Women and their gods, he had thought as he crumpled the paper. He sent an assistant for a treat for the boy and a note back to his wife.

Please tell Pilo his father is so very happy to have a healthy son. I thank the gods for this astounding turn of events.

His day swam in politics. Prefect of a Jewish culture in a Roman nation… Rule as a Roman but don’t remind them too much. Rule with authority but don’t get in the way of their religion. He disagreed with the philosophy and found it showed a weakness in his empire. If Romans indeed ruled, they should rule and their subjects should adapt.

Now this. His wife and her silly dreams, her ridiculous gods and this Jew, Jesus, plaguing him. The Nazarene was different from his countrymen and Pilate had liked him very much. He had especially liked the way he provoked the Sanhedrin. Now he lie in a tomb just another dead man. His hands still felt the cool water from the basin, the splashing sound it made as the crowd chanted and roused, coaxed. Barrabas was free and Jesus of Nazareth was dead. His last act in the matter was to place a sign on the cross “King of the Jews.” He, the Sanhedrin and Jesus himself all subjecting themselves to systems not of their own design. They were as uncivilized a people as he knew and he detested them today.

He continued his letter to Tiberius. Washing his hands once more of the situation. Would he be able to sleep again? Would his wife always look at him as she had today? Hatred stirred in his heart so thick, so unwavering that he literally felt the tightness in his chest as he struggled to breathe deeply. No more men like Jesus would die on his watch, the Jewish people would be ruled by a Roman prefect and they would know it.

Inside her rooms Claudia sobbed. Pilo’s feet would haunt her. That mother admiring her son in the middle of the night, the feel of his hand on her arm, it changed everything and now he was dead. She could feel the pain inside of her, inexplicable, uncontrollable rolling out in heaving jerks every servant in the house could hear. Everything was different and everything felt dead today. If only Jesus could have lived, but how long could anyone truly live? She had hoped much longer, perhaps forever but it was not to be.

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  1. A frustrating weekend for Pilate, certainly.
    I find Pilate interesting because of his question, “what is truth?”, even though he does not listen for an answer.

  2. Finally had a chance to sit and read… fantastic job, Jen! Your words beautifully evoke the emotions in the characters, and I love your fictional twist with the healing. You just might give Francine Rivers a run for her money! 😉

    • Actually every bit of facts in story are part of traditional stories told about Pilate. Pretty fascinating and plausible… I love Wikipedia! 🙂 thnx girl! Ur at the beach and I’m headed to Alaska! What’s up with that?! 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

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