Did your breath catch in your throat just before you touched the barrel of water? Did your hand tingle or tremble before it laid God’s love onto it? Did you turn your head to see if someone was gaping at your foolishness, or did you shrug into yourself, shutting out what might be coming your way?
Did they stare directly at you when they learned what you had done, or did they slide glances at you from the edge of their eyes, hoping that, in seeing you standing there, the story would prove false? But they had been drinking all night. Was what happened to them just a foolish blur, a twirl of life that, realized the next morning, was easily shrugged off in the brilliant light of the day’s work in front of them? The fields needed to be plowed. The animals had to be fed. Commerce must be commenced. Enough with this water into wine business. We had a great time last night. No sense ruining it with silly storytelling.
Or were there tears? What would they be, then? Tears of confusion, perhaps, or the reaction to feeling the kiss of God on their souls? And did you cry that night, alone in your room? Your mother was complete in her pride, satisfied in her rightness, wrapped in the warmth of her beloved’s body pressed against her, oblivious to the change in the world that had just taken place. Joseph smiled to have his family home.
Did you smile?
Did you wish, for the first time in your life, that you were not so completely alone in your oddly-shaped life, so that you could lie in bed and with your hands outline the wonder, the magnitude of it all? You could stop talking and know that the one lying next to you was still listening, could still hear the story in the silent atoms of the night. It was she who had been with you when you vomited in the night, had tolerated your frustrations with knotty wood and slow workmen, had nodded forgivingly when her mother-in-law spoke of your holiness. And yet here it was.
A visit from your father.
How long did it take to feel the breath in your body again?