Continued ….Bernice grabbed her branch with the intensity of a man at war, and prepared herself for her coming King.
“You make me laugh.”
“My mother said always be ready and resourceful,” responded Bernice, twinkle in the eye.
Gazing down the road, she began to see a man running towards them, shouting. At first it was distant, and only an echo. Then she soon heard the news she’d been waiting for.
“The King is coming! He’s about 10 minutes down the road!” Out of breath and dirty from the travels, the young man cut off a tree branch near by, and found his place, branch in hand, alongside the road and a young child appearing as eager as he.
The flies buzzed in the ears of impatient ones. Hungry ones. Curious ones.
The silence was broke.
“Does anyone realize what is happening today?” stepped out a man from the crowd, and turned, facing each side of the road alternately.
“Does anyone realize that our town will never be the same again, and ya’d better be ready to honor the King! If you’re here just for a show or a laugh, you best be going home! Now take off yer robes, garments and anything ya can spare and lay them on the road. That way the King will know we’re paving the way for him with our very own possessions!”
“Aw, come on Gaben! We’re just here for a good bit of entertainment! You know as well as I do that nothing good ever came out of Nazareth!” mocked a crude and unfamiliar face.
Gaben stared at the man intensely, and began to untie his robe. Almost in slow motion, Gaben was not one to make decisions lightly. Savouring every truth of the moment, the crowd began to follow suit.
Greens and blues and reds and every hue found in a garden began to fill up the empty spaces on the road. Bernice so carefully placed her own purple robe on the road, and returned back to Alpheus.
The palm branches gathered were lowered, as the coming of the King was only minutes away.
Eyes continued scanning the road. A child began to cry. A hearty laugh was heard.
The distant figures began to clear in the eyes of the searching crowd.
A man riding a donkey, accompanied by a gentleman on either side, was approaching. The man’s figure looked strong and protective.
Bernice squeezed Alphy’s arm.
Gaben, taking the lead again, started to shout.
“Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Alpheus wasted no time in joining in and waving his branch in the air “Hosanna in the highest!”
Bernice was waving her branch passionately up and down, accidentally brushing the woman in front of her.
“Oh, I’m sorry ma’am,” apologized Bernice.
“That’s quite alright. Perhaps you should be up here. I don’t have a branch. Here, take my place.” She stepped aside.
Bernice, shocked by the gesture told her feet to move for her, please, just this moment – this moment with her King.
“Hosanna King! Hosanna in the highest!” she shouted in unison with the crowd.
The King was now visible. His kind eyes were looking over every person. Every gift lain on the road. Every act of honor. He wore a smile of deep pleasure and thankfulness.
The King, still on the donkey, approached the man who had earlier mocked his coming. No words were needed. The King paused long enough for the man to know he had been wrong. The King smiled at him, and gave a chuckle.
Raising His hand to wave to the crowd, they praised all the louder. His wave turned to a fist pumping in the air.
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Bernice’s heart nearly escaped her chest as the King began to pull the donkey towards her.
Could He be coming here? Could my dream be coming true?!
Bernice lowered her head, and said one more time, “Hosanna King”.
One of the men that had been accompanying the King touched her chin, and lifted up her head to look once more.
At that moment the world seemed to stop. The worries she had had that morning suddenly seemed so petty, as Bernice finally looked into the eyes of her King.
She adored Him, and He could tell.
The King reached out His hand from where he sat. She feared her legs might fail her, and before she knew it, Alpheus was behind her, helping her to her feet. Bernice placed her hand in the King’s and He uttered the two most fantastic words she’d ever heard, “Thank you.”
His touch was soft and firm. In that moment of truth, she knew the King felt her every dream. Her every wish. Her every fear. He knew it. And she didn’t even have to say a word.
She bowed her head, and the King carried on.
The crowds continued to shout hosanna and praises to the King they had longed to see. He had changed their hearts and they had just met Him. What kind of King could do that? Only a King who already knew them.
Bernice watched for a few minutes in her own silence, as the world around her continued to move. She was frozen.
Frozen in Alpheus’ arms.
“It’s like He knew everything I was thinking and wishing, all in that very moment. My one moment with the King.”
“I wish he could rub off some of that on me. I’ve been trying to guess what you think for the last several years!”
His humour brought her out of her divine moment, and into the present.
“You have?” she looked up at him, blushing. “Well keep working on it, you’re bound to figure it out. Some day.”
Cheeky smile and all, Bernice turned towards home.
Looking at the road one more time, Alpheus called out, “Don’t you want your robe Berni?”
Bernice turned. Hands clasped in front of her, smiling euphorically.
“No. It was a gift. I don’t take gifts back.”
He patted his heart in contentment. What a girl. Hmm, what’s this?
He reached into his pocket to find his very own gift. His grandmother’s ring.
Well, perhaps the King meant it for another day.
Another chuckle and the dust was swirling. He had a girl to win.