stilted and halting. A vice
clenched tight around her throat. Air. I
“Try to take a breath, Mary.” Her voice
but distant. Courtney echoed somehow, almost through a
“I thought—” the gasp was
painful, “I thought—he loved me. I thought we would be together
forever.” Pain. Make it stop, please
just make it
“That man’s a dog!”
Mary could see her.
was touching her, but the touch was distant. It didn’t register.
No. He’s a good man.”
He is a good man.
He was a good man. He was,
“I’m sorry.” Courtney shook her
arms latched around Mary
holding her close. “I didn’t mean
“We were going to get
married. “ Her knees buckled.
Mary hit the ground, Courtney with her. “We were
going to be a family—have
a family. He was supposed to take care of me for the
rest of my—my—li—life.
I would never have to worry about anything because he—,
he—.” I can’t
even say it. God help me.
The words hurt too
“There’ll be another guy, Mary. If you
just - -
“I don’t want another guy! I want
Courtney took a deep breath. “Mary, this
is going to
hurt, but he doesn’t love you anymore.” The look on Mary’s face told
that was a big mistake. “Isn’t that what he told you?” She was backpedaling
now. Courtney watched as her friend broke both on the inside and out.
Painful moans emanated from her throat.
To call them a sob or a cry, even a
wail, would have been a stretch.
“Mary, it’s time to get some help.
He’s not coming back.” She kept her
arms wrapped around her crumpled friend
on the floor, seemingly in the throes of
a grave injury, pitiful moans
poured out of her open mouth without stop.
Mary clenched her
eyes tight against the
pain, and the world.
It had been a year
— a year of hurt and
pain — a year of throwing up every single day, and
crying herself to sleep every
night. The days all meshed into one, and the
months dragged on as though they
would never end, as though the pain would
never end. And it
A broken heart really can
kill you. I still love him. But hate
him at the same time. I want to see
him, but I can’t. I need him. And I despise
you’re sad,” Courtney said, “but
this will - - “
sad,” Mary snapped. “This isn’t
sad.” It won’t get better. It’s never
going to get better. I will never have anybody who loves me. Roger, my love
the only man I have ever truly loved. Why? Why did you hurt me so?
can’t you just love me back?”
whispered, teetering on
the edge of her dear friend’s dream… or
“Why can’t I just find a man who can
love me? A man
who would die for me?”
“Roger did love you.”
he doesn’t.” Her words were
sharp and biting. “I want to be loved forever.
Someone who can love me for who
and what I am, for all eternity. Is that so
much to ask?”
Mary tried to stand, but her legs gave
Collapsed on the floor, she buried her head. Away from Courtney. Away from
echoed in her head. The
pounding on her brain coincided with the echo of
wails and moans in her ears. Head. Hurt. Throbbing. Mary fell
forwarded and vomited. She tried to crawl, but was too weak. The smell of fresh
dirt stung her sinuses. Dust surrounded her, blinding any line of
Hands. Don’t touch me. I never want to be touched again
anyone. Voices. I don’t want to hear you. I don’t want to listen. You
understand. No one does. I can’t. I don’t ever want to hurt like this
can’t do this alone. I can’t survive. Won’t this pounding in my
“Move along.” A foot connected with her
ribs, throwing her sideways.
Toppled sideways, face in the dirt,
pushed herself up.
Bare legs. Red
skirt. Sword? A centurion soldier.
“Your king will be dead soon. Move
The ground shook when the huge cross was
lifted and seated into its gaping hole. Swaying back and forth with the weight
of the beaten and bloody human nailed to it, the broken pieces of Mary’s
crumbled again. “What did he do?” Her heart ached just to look
upon the figure
that once was a man.
He’s the Messiah. A
new king, come to save the world, but can’t even save
himself. Now He’s a dead
king. Let’s see what He can do from the grave.”
The sky darkened, along with her
“I want the king’s
“No, I want it
Clinking on the ground. Casting lots. Are
they betting for the
clothing of this gruesomely beaten man? Why? What did
this man do? Other than
love everyone. Love me. Enough to die for
“Let’s help him die faster. Get these
followers out of here.”
A spear. Pierced. Blood, no water flowed
from his pierced side, gushing down the wooden cross. “Ahhhhh.” It was but
whisper. He never cried out.
Mary inched closer. “What did you say?” Barely a hoarse
asked again. “What?”
“My God. My God. Why have you
He groaned in pain, falling
the nails that held him up.
Dear God. That really is my son
there. His head lolled sideways, eyes opened. Glazed, but still focused,
He looked at me.
For you. I did this for you. I am the
one who loves you. I am the one who died for you.
And then He
Because He loves
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
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