She fills her glass and hits the floor. The music blares and she rocks her hips to the beat of the song she swore she’d never dance too. He broke her heart but did it slowly. Every step she takes leaves a trail of dust. She swallows hard and it stings her throat. She smiles from the pain and prays for the day that the only thing she can feel is numb. Her friends told her this would help her. The loud music and the smell of sweat would make her feel alive again. She takes another sip from the glass she’s filled, but all her lips can taste is empty.
He’s a loser and a spaz. If ever he has forgotten the sign on his back is there to remind him. He lets the holes in his pants distract you from the holes in his heart. He has slept on the couch for the last three days because he wants to hear his mother when she comes home. 2am is closing time and he sets his alarm. She stumbles in with a new man on her arm and they laugh as they walk by the couch. He pretends to be sleeping and she pretends she believes him. His stomach churns as they make their way up the stairs. He thinks about the mat lying on their porch. “Welcome Home” it reads. He’d shred it in the morning. That back door is revolving and when he dreams he dreams that just for one night he could go to sleep without waiting for 2am. He tiptoes to the cupboards to take one of his prescription sleeping pills and as he pops it into his mouth. It’s hard to swallow empty.
She goes to bed at 8pm. She hopes if she brushes her teeth without being told and folds the laundry before they ask, then maybe this family will keep her. She stares into the mirror and hopes that in the morning her hair will be less stringy. “If I could only be prettier,” she thinks to herself, “then someone would want me.” She uses the eraser of her pencil to try and rub out her freckles. When they ask her if she’s hungry she does her best to eat the food she has been given and then pretend she’s full. She doesn’t want to be expensive, she doesn’t want to be a burden, she just wants to be wanted. The woman wears lovely dresses and the man drives a big truck. She envisions herself sipping tea with the woman in her own lovely dress someday and riding shotgun in that pickup. The food is burned on her dinner plate but she swallows each bite anyway. “It’s delicious!” She squeals to the woman in the dress and she swears she sees a smile. “It must be working,” she thinks while holding her breath, but she never exhales to breathe. She scoops another burnt piece onto her fork and opens her mouth up wide. She chews slowly, but her stomach remains empty.
On the first Palm Sunday they screamed, “Hosanna!” while trampling over one another in the streets. They wanted to catch a glimpse of Him. They waved their branches and felt the wind blow joy threw their hair. “We love you!” Some shouted, and others called Him King. The scene was picture perfect and the soldiers couldn’t contain the mob of people trying to crowd around Him. He had told them that if they drank from His cup, they would never thirst again. He had promised that if they would just connect to His Word, their vacant hearts could overflow. He was the physical embodiment of life, and He knew that His sacrifice would pave the way for love so dense they could wear it.
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They dance and sing His praise and their adoration touched His heart. He smiled in their direction, but He knew this moment would be short lived. They could shout all they wanted. He knew the praise, accolades, and the waving palm branches were hollow. Much like the church today, we profess Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. So many filled pews are empty.
They crucified Him. The body they once chased after now hung naked and bruised. The eyes that once cried at their rejection, now rested in a peace that looked like victory. They sealed Him in and rolled the stone. They placed the guards and hoped that the whispers would now be silenced.
The only problem in their plotting, was that the tomb they thought would conceal His body was empty.
Heather Thompson Day is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Andrews University. She is the author of five Christian books, including Life After Eden, and writer for The Spilled Milk Club. Facebook her, or check her out on Instagram.