06 March, 2011

The Hand Below the Door

She had lost herself in a reverie-- thoughts of Mikhail ruminated within her and swathed her in a binding viscosity; her vision turbid as though through murky water.

She looked about her. She was seated upon the muck of the floor in the same damp, unnameable darkness, and she faced it—the familiar, infuriating strip of light, below the base of a door she herself could not open or pass through.

She reached into the light and gazed down as her fingers were illuminated by the light from beyond: she could see that the flakes of blood embedded into the mires of her skin were lodged there worse than ever, and the grime within the webs of her fingers had developed an oily crunch.

She had thought her life would be better than this. But surely that was an ancient torment? Surely she was not unique in that discovery. Desire. For what you never had. Or barely had. For what might have been. Despair. For what you had but lost. For what is.

There she lay, all maggot and squalor— fallen too far to descend further. She was crouched beneath both the door and the debris of her despair. Her body ached with a simultaneous fear and hope: this door, she thought, this door might be a portal into heaven itself. She thought of her last encounter with it, of the warmth emitting from the flashing images of her family. Did she have faith?

Shura pondered. Had she not sacrificed? Had she not left all she had ever known and traveled to so foreign a place on faith alone? [1] She had trusted that God would guide and care for her. Trust— in He, and in the he that she had so come to love. Was that not faith? She yearned to know. But she felt quite incapable of serious thought.

Outwardly, she sat stewing in her wretchedness, but somewhere within her some kind of spiritual squabble was taking place.

Her head fell miserably as she squeezed her eyes shut, her body shuddering as she exhaled a breath so miserable it nearly woke her from this stupor—and as she did she felt a rapid warmth of another hand upon her own beneath the door.

Her eyes snapped open; wet and white and wide, and all at once she was quite alert. Gazing down, she noted that the hand was most assuredly male—large and strong, but the things so worn it looked at though it were quite divorced from the functioning body of a human, and rather more like a scrap of offal one might find in the muzzle of a scavenging beast. Still, the expression in the fingers was kind, and the warmth of both heat and feeling thoroughly palpable. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; her mind recited to itself, it is I who say to you Fear not, I will help you. [2] Was this the hand of God? Had her moment arrived?

      “…Shura…” a voice breathed softly from the room beyond.

Could it be? It could not. But it was.

      “Shura…” his voice was no more than a whisper, “…my love, it is me…”

She turned her hand upward so that the two lay palm to palm, and could not respond with anything greater than a squeeze of the hand atop her own. She was not alone. She had never been alone.

Despite it all, she still had faith.






[1] “Now the Lord said unto Abraham: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.” Genesis 12:1
[2] Isaiah 41:13

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