The Israelites

by Tabitha Lawrence

I. I know this girl who threw out all her makeup and refused to wear any more until she found some that she knew was clean. She said she had a lot of problems with organized religions but she would always have a soft spot for the Gospels. She only ate raw, vegan foods and styled her hair in a delicate twist like a princess. She had this Aunt who called her life clean, too. Ate healthy and watched out for sugar and chemicals and carcinogens and she died of cancer, and I guess there’s a lot of ways you can take that. Maybe she bought herself time/put off the inevitable/offered a sliver of her humanity by living with that kind of paranoia, but our bodies are the temple and we waste not, want not and so it goes.

II. The Bible loves symbolism and we love the Bible so we love symbolism, so much so that the Pastor tells us about the things that God asked Hosea to do and we cry and cry. The taking of the adulterous wife, the child to be named “Not my people,” the forgiveness even then, even after all that. We are the Israelites-the treacherous beyond compare. We are the Israelites-the millionth chance for redemption that we don’t deserve. She said that the Old Testament God is scary, but the New Testament is awholenother thing. Think of how a man changes when he becomes a father. Think of how different the world looks holding that baby in his arms.

III. And I have this theory, that you all secretly want to want a girl like me. Like I’ll come in with this stormy set of values and the top-button buttoned-up and spring clean your life into an unrecognizable state, but this idea too will fade. For the path is wide and the way is easy for sinners like us. Soon, you will look in the mirror and find all your accusations and name them after me. Without even wrinkling your sheets, you will toss me in the wash. And this is all fine, this cycle that I’m spinning in. Me and this narrow road haven’t spoken in a while and I’ve got some explaining to do. Until then, we sign up to distract ourselves. You surprise your new girl with flowers. I bring food to other people’s tables and I fast for forty days. It’s your birthday and I remember but I don’t call. We stay asleep and when we do, we stay at least just a little still in love. And I’m sure there are nights when you are sleeping alone that even I seem for a second to have been a sacrifice worthwhile.

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