I chose a moment when he was distracted, pulling away from another wave of people.
It wasn’t really a touch, my hand brushed against the hem of his robe. I couldn’t get close enough for skin on skin contact.
It was a desperate lunge driven by the hope that despite the crowd massing around, I could reach out far and get … what?
The backward-sweep of a glimpse, the echo of a word, a third hand blessing.
It was instantaneous – like a bee sting.
It took the breath out of me.
I was dazed for a moment and then the jagged jangling that I’d had within me for so many years, was gone.
I thought he wouldn’t notice, there were so many jostling against him, and it was just the tips of my fingers that touched the edge of his robe, it wasn’t even enough to cause a ripple of fabric.
But as I came to my senses, I became aware of him asking who’d touched him.
Foolish question, his friends declared, everyone had pushed against him.
I kept quiet. I was afraid of what the crowd would do if they found out it was me.
I’d only managed to sneak in because they were so distracted. I have been unclean so long and they all know it and they all keep well away from me.
By reaching out I had not only defiled him, I had defiled all those who had bumped against me. Once they saw my face, they would be so angry.
One of the synagogue leaders was trying to move him on–something urgent was in play–but he would not move on, was insistent on knowing who had touched him and as his eyes scanned all our faces, I knew I couldn’t slink away.
I stepped up.
He touched me properly then, skin on skin, hand in hand, and told me my faith had restored me. He made no claim for himself or about his own power.
My faith–after all these years and all this pain–it was more likely my desperate longing to be woven back into the fabric of my community.
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