And then today I'm sitting on the white couch with red flowers, reading the story of David and his son Absalom to India, trying not to let her see that I am crying because of how David fled his palace and hid in the hills rather than fight his own traitor son, because of how David went from commander to commander ordering them not to harm him, because of his anxious waiting for word of his son's safety, because of how they filled Absalom's heart with spears as he hung like a wind chime in a tree strung up by his beautiful hair, and because of David's weeping.
"O Absalom, my son, my son."
Where, I wonder, do we get the idea that God equals happiness, equals safety, equals an easy old age in the suburbs with neighbours that wave?
"O Absalom, Absalom."
And how is it that we think we should now be able to escape the wandering, the fleeing, the cave dwelling, the robe ripping, prophet pointing, madman mocking of a broken heart?
"My son, my son Absalom!"
Or that we would be protected from our lusts, from our roof top nights, from the trickle of the water falling,
the curve of a neck,
That heavy night air concealing
"My son Absalom! Absalom! If only I had died instead of you."
Or, mostly, maybe mostly, that we would be protected from regret.
I look away, out the window at the bare trees and metallic sky, and she sits quietly beside me.
- It's so sad, she says.
- Yes, I say. It is.
"Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great."
I wonder if he knew that he was called, "A man after God's own heart"?
I wonder if he ever felt he caught it.