Then He Spoke Her Name

This time another Scenic Overlook…



Charlie Marshall, Bristol

It was always so easy for her. She knew she had power over men. It was their awkward stammering when she faced them. It was the electricity of attention that attended her as she walked through an open space in town. She figured out early that she could get what she wanted. Whenever she wanted. Oil, grain, wool, flax, even gold and silver. Or raisin cakes, which she loved, baked by some hapless other. Who would not use such a power if they had it? Why not?


So she did. But things did not turn out the way she imagined. In getting what she wanted, she lost some of herself. She learned how to steel herself to give her body, but the pay didn’t fill the void. She had plenty. But, she sometimes asked the night in her loneliness, plenty of what?


It was a hard habit to break, though. Once you make yourself a transaction, once you start down that path, it is like walking down a crack in a mountain. There are fewer and fewer places to turn off. Before she knew it, she was trapped.


That is why she could not hide her astonishment when he first stood before her, speaking to her. She knew his stature in Samaria. Oh, there were plenty of religious men who came to her at night, who changed their holiness off-hours for a different cloak in her neighborhood. But she knew that he was not one of those. No, this was the daytime. This man was the real thing. And he was speaking with her!


So, she thought, this is my last ticket out. This is my last chance to a new life. Maybe that great and terrible God could have mercy on her. Maybe old Diblaim, who forbade her from even visiting him, could now look at her differently. Through the proposal of this strange man. So she said ‘yes.’


It did work for a while. It was the one time in her life that she felt ‘home.’ She didn’t mind the work so much. She could like it sometimes. There were even times when she laughed.  But old ways die hard. Even after having several children, she could still turn men’s heads, and some of those men could be very persistent. Some places in the town screamed out her name. To return to old times. Easy raisin cakes.


So, she began to wonder if she could have both lives. One day, when he was away, she slipped away for a particularly attractive prospect. After that, it got more frequent and less surreptitious. At a certain point she gave up the charade and moved out.


She was surprised, but the return to that part of town was better then it was before her marriage. Money seemed to appear out of nowhere. Even, older, she had enough. As for him, she knew what was in his rights to do. But he never did it. He wouldn’t, not him.


Then things turned south, and it got really bad, worse than before. The magic money was gone.

And so came the day he stood before her again. But it was too late for her, she knew. How could he take her back after all he knew what she’d done?


Instead of reprimand, he seemed to be trying to make her remember what life with him was like. He recalled their intimate moments. He said that the children needed her. But none of this could overcome the logic of her heart. She had given up on herself and this time nothing, she thought, would bring her back.


That was until he spoke her name. “Gomer,” Hosea said, “it is time to come home.”

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