If i may but touch, p.1

If I May But Touch, page 1

 

If I May But Touch
 


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If I May But Touch


  IF I MAY BUT TOUCH

  Connie Keenan

  If I May But Touch

  By Connie Keenan

  Copyright 2015 by Connie Keenan

  MORE BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

  Crystal Waves

  One Sweet Day

  Unconditional

  Distant Fire

  Glimmers of Heaven

  ’Twas the Spy Before Christmas

  Dimension

  Champagne Taste

  More Than Sparrows

  The Christmas Waltz

  Forever in My Heart

  Greetings from My Sandy Dreams

  The Cop and the Mermaid

  Paradise Road

  Fascination

  Sea Siren (writing as Consuelo Vazquez)

  Stealing Thunder (writing as Consuelo Vazquez)

  About the Author

  Connie Keenan, who has also written under the pseudonym Consuelo Vazquez, is the author of more than twenty-five novels and novellas and over one hundred short stories. With many more works to come, she's mostly written Christian fiction and sweet contemporary romance. She loves hiking, discovering fun little shops, trying out new recipes, and spending time with her family and friends. Connie and her husband Bill live in North Carolina with a spoiled German Shepherd and a mellow Chorkie.

  For news on her upcoming novels and special promotions, visit her blog at https://conniekeenanwriter.blogspot.com.

  There was a time before I was stricken with illness. So many times, over the years, it was hard to believe that, because it seemed like my sickness had always been there. If I had to describe it, I would have to say that it was like a thick, heavy chain, this long, hateful thing that had been coiled around me several times. It was with me from the rise of the sun until its setting, every single day, every week, every year, for twelve very long years.

  But, yes, there really had been a time before I could not stop bleeding. Long before my chain, when I was free. There had been a time in my life when I wasn’t sick. I was reminded of that time that day, as I stood afar off from the crowds, watching a little girl playing with the other children.

  The children were a good distance away, and yet I could see them. That had been me once—little, playful, not a care in the world. I smiled to myself, watching them. I couldn’t watch for very long because I had to get down from the hill; I had to get close to him. Still, I let myself take a few moments to remember what it was like, before people were afraid to touch me, before they looked at me with disgust. Before I became unclean.

  A gust of wind blew in from the lake, reaching me where I stood. Turning away from it, I adjusted my cloak, making sure my head was covered and my face was partially hidden. If I keep my head down, maybe no one will recognize me. I told myself that, trying to believe those words, which did nothing to calm me. With my heart thundering in my chest, I slowly began making my way down to the lake.

  In the distance were some fishing boats, lazily lining the horizon. One of those vessels had reached the shore, and he was just stepping out of it, he and his friends. Those men, whom people said were always with him. I didn’t know any of them, not personally, but I did know of them. Well, actually, there where I lived, everyone had heard of them. There was Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew, those two fishermen; Matthew, the publican; James, the son of Zebedee. The others, I wasn’t sure of their names, because the only one that mattered to me was him, the one who’d called them to follow him.

  He was the one I needed to get close to. The carpenter’s son, who had been a carpenter, himself. The Nazarene, the one they called Jesus. I had to get close to him now. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today. I couldn’t let him leave without trying to reach him. If anyone could help me, if anyone could remove my chain, it was him.

  And if I didn’t do it when I had the chance, if I couldn’t get to him, then the chance might never come again. I was aware of the danger posed to me, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t know what could happen to me, but I didn’t care. I was desperate. That despair had been my only companion for twelve long years. Sometimes despair is stronger than fear.

  “What’s all the commotion?”

  That was more of a demand than a question, coming from a man who had come out of his house. I happened to glance at him, only long enough to see the expression of annoyance on his face. The passing clusters of people had disturbed him.

  “It’s Jesus,” another man told him, clearly excited.

  “Jesus! All this noise and nonsense. As if anything good could come from Nazareth!” he muttered in exasperation and began walking back to his house.

  “You haven’t heard? About what happened at the tombs?”

  The man’s eyebrows raised in mild curiosity. “What happened?”

  “That man who lives there. The one they have to bind because he’s dangerous. The one filled with devils.”

  “Oh, yes. Did he die, finally?”

  “No! The demons are gone. They’re gone! Jesus drove them out of him.” When the other man only blinked back at him in confusion, the man who’d shared the report smiled and repeated, “Jesus cast the demons out of the madman who lives in the tombs. Every last one of them. They say he’s in his right mind now. He’s free!”

  “Ohhh!” The word escaped my lips before my hand flew to my mouth, but neither of the men had heard me.

  Again. It happened again! This time with that man—even I knew who he was, the man filled with demons, who had lived alone in the tombs of Gerasenes. How could anyone not have heard of him? People had spoken about how he would cut himself with stones. Men would try to bind him, but they were afraid of him, too. No matter how they tried to keep him bound, he would always break free from the fetters with the terrifying strength of the demons. They said that on many nights, he could be heard screaming, that his cries of agony would echo through the tombs.

  They say he’s in his right mind now. He’s free.

  Jesus had done that for him. What sort of man was this? He had driven out “every last one” of those demons, to quote the man who’d given that report, out of the man from Gerasenes. He had set him free.

  Could he do that for me? Could he perform a miracle in my life? Would this Jesus do that for me?

  At that very moment, I felt warmth traveling out of me, down my leg, concealed only by my garment. It had stopped earlier that morning. It did that—sometimes, the blood would stop. For a short while, times that were becoming less and less in duration, particularly during that past year. Just as I’d asked myself those questions, if Jesus would grant me a miracle as he had for that man who’d been possessed, the flow of blood had started again, as if mocking me.

  Fear struck me, the way it often did around others. First, I looked down to inspect the lower half of my garment to see if the fabric had been stained. It was difficult, but I tried to do that without drawing attention to myself. I didn’t have many clothes left; I didn’t own many possessions at all at that point in my life. What little I had, I kept hidden in a spot on the mountain.

  Fortunately, my garments were dark in color. I was grateful because I knew that what always began as a slow trickle would, in no time at all, become a river of blood. All people had to do was see those ugly, crimson stains on my clothes, and they would know.

  I was the woman with the issue of blood. Hanging my head, I quickly tried to rearrange my clothing so that, hopefully, there would be no visible stains before I had the chance to reach Jesus. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time. I was afraid.

  But I was also determined.

  Then, through the crowds, I saw someone I knew. Someone who’d once told me he loved me. A long time ago.

  I’m speaking of a time long before my body seemed to forget how to st
op bleeding.

  ****

 
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