The woman winced. Again. Her breath took on a raggedness. Her words broke through clenched teeth.
“How much farther?”
“Not much, Woman.”
He’d been mentally referring to her as woman since he found out. It helped. The woman was pregnant. The woman had a special touch from God. He was not to abandon the woman.
Woman was not an insult. But they’d agreed: it was how he loved her, saying her name. Softly. Over and over. He hadn’t said her name since he found out. Not once. If the insult cut her she didn’t let on, else she was fixed on riding out the pain.
Even after the dream Joseph couldn’t bring himself to think her name. The angel commanded: he was not to leave. In cases… like this, a quiet separation was a gift, was merciful. Some men, pious men, would have stoned her. Fashioned of jealousy and…
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Neat take on Jesus’s birth narrative! But Joseph was an honorable man. 🙂 Imagine how scary all that must have been for Mary.