By Samantha Costanza
Averted eyes and gazes as I walk down the dirt road. They might as well have been stepping on me. The grit and stank dwells deep in my bones. I am the grime and sludge. I am the unwanted.
My hair is coifed, coiled, and creased. Every curl in place and every minute of time proven worth it. A masterpiece. Ruby lips. Kohl on eyes. Shadows to highlight and acknowledge the eyes are the windows. Look at them.
My clothes are pressed. The purples, the blue silk flowers in the field. Yet all of my work is for nothing. No one looks at me. I am from the pit of thieves and the underground. I am the epitome of an outsider.
I slink in the comfortable shadows as the sun sets signaling the time. My heart beats quicker with the looks and gazes of dismay my way.
I am unwanted. I have done what I needed. Been used, abused. Always the girl who was a little out there. The girl who grew out of the eyes of the crowd. Learning what was wrong. Finding out what is disgusting. Discovering the dissension of a disease that dominates. The oil slick that dwells in the soul and taints the insides.
My shame is great. My outside a pretty wrapper on a foul package. A piece of candy that opened, maybe savored for a second, than spat to the dirt. Tossed out into the brown dust that is home. Dry dust with no rain that pours. Roads that are hard and broken. It s my next of kin. My sisters and brothers that know me better than the world.
I am rushing to someone I have never met. Someone who is out of the dust and like a gleam of light. The jagged muscle that resides in my chest jumps and yearns for this man in a way unnatural to the dank mess of emotions that I am used to. I am clasping an offering between my palms. Something sweet smelling unlike my life. Smooth and white. The opposite of me. An alabaster jar of perfume.
The open courtyard is full, but people cringe away from me. I make my way to the front a. I glance at him and my heart does not know whether to move faster or not at all. Seated with he leaders of the ruling class. He seems a king among the wretched masses to me.
I hear no words. I sense no other person in the area, but this man and I. My shame is anew. My disgrace is on my mind. Replays of those late nights in the dark. Those nights of abuse. Moments of anguish and despair. The stages grew worse and the problem grew to this moment where I stood so close. So close.
Something in me screams to get closer. “Closer you idiot! You don’t have to be afraid.” My muscles tense in the knowledge that rejection maybe imminent, yet I can’t stop the urge. One foot moves forward and something falls from my eye. A tear. My foot moves again and the steps become less tentative. The urgency is back.
He glances at me and a flood begins. My unworthiness ringing in the ears of my being. I throw myself into the ground at his feet. Dust rises from my dropping body. It is settling on him! “I tainted him. I must undo this.” I place my head over his beautiful feet and allow the flood to rid the unholy dust from him.
Compulsion rises, and I kiss his feet. This only helps more water to flow onto his feet and I know that the dirt will become clinging dragging mud. I must get it off. Each curl pulled from place, each painstaking pin is pulled as I rip my hir down to wipe his wondrous being clean. I hear gasps as the brown silk falls from my crown, past my shoulders to the ground. With his feet dry, I begin to caress the feet again with my lips.
The alabaster jar is remembered and I pour the contents on his feet. The judges are speaking, but I hear none of their condemning words. The jagged rock begins to melt and unknown feelings rush out. Love. This is what it must feel like.
All of a sudden I look up and he is staring straight into my eyes. I want to look away. I want to turn because I know he can see all of me in this moment. He smiles at me. He is not cringing. He is not disgusted. He is looking at me with that newly learned emotion, love.
He says, “You sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” With those words, my pain is gone. My disease is cured. Everything is gone but he remains. I kiss his feet one last time. I stand unashamed and walk into the light of a new day.
Samantha is a 23 year-old teacher who recently followed God into the desert, literally — roughing it out in Dubai where inspiration for lessons are everywhere.