His throat was raw with screaming. He had reached a point of frenzy and fear that sent his mind whirling with desperation. His sightless eyes spilled tears as he called out again and again. His moment was passing away, and with it, all hope for healing.
He clamored through the crowd, the masses of people pressing and surging around him like a rushing river. When he finally fell to the ground, he wailed so loudly the sound seemed to form a momentary circle of silence around him. His ear popped with a sudden thud as someone kicked him. “Shut up!” came a voice, but his tenacity was as complete as his blindness.
He had lived in darkness almost all of his long life. He remembered sight faintly, but he did remember, and on many days this seemed to be less a blessing than a curse.
When he concentrated, instinctively closing his eyes to do so, he could see colour, and shape, and distance, as through tempered glass, and darkly. He recalled the mottled shade of a bird’s wing (a sparrow?), and the sky reflected in water. But mostly he remembered the shape of his father’s face, and the colour of his eyes. His mother died when he was very young, and even when he had sight her image had already faded. But his father’s eyes were deep and strong, and it seemed to him that all colours were possessed of the blue of them.
He remembered the light brown tones of parchment in twilight. He remembered his fingers running the page as he read aloud to his father, stumbling on a word here and there, his father smiling and helping him sound it out.
He remembered going to temple with his father. Though the people and the altar were obscured in the shadowy fog of his mind’s eye, he remembered the touch of his father’s hand in his own, and his father’s hand upon his back as they knelt together to pray. He remembered the whisper in his ear, close enough to feel his breath, as his father hinted insight into the scripture reading.
It was in this way that he remembered a promise. He remembered a saviour. He remembered a whisper.
He thought of that whisper every time he heard a scripture about the promised Hero. The Hero would come from David’s line, his truest son. Even now, not having heard a proper scripture reading in many years, he would hear, and feel, that whisper again.
He remembered other whispers. These were the words that escaped his father’s lips when he prayed in private, his sleeping son wide awake and listening from his bed.
“O God, we are in desperate need. Please, please help us, dear Provider. Come to us, dear Saviour.”
But the son of David was a long way off, and the young son of Timaeus had hunger pangs. When his father became ill, the boy had already begun begging to keep them both fed. His blindness was not yet even complete, though he would play his eyes wildly for a more complete affect, and for more coins from sympathetic passersby.
It seemed, now, in his memory, that his eyesight and his father died on the same day.
For unnumbered years, the son held what was left of his father’s image as to life itself. But he was losing the strength of his youth. Time pulled the blind man slowly, relentlessly, away from his father’s embrace, the distance between them growing ever greater, the blue of his father’s eyes ever fading into darkness.
But today, there was hope. A man was working miracles, and he was coming close by. He remembered a line from Isaiah, and he remembered his father’s whisper.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
He screamed again, his voice like a desperate animal. “JESUS! JESUS, SON OF DAVID! HELP ME! HELP ME!”
He sat there, shaking and weeping, and still he called out. But now, all that came from his throat was a kind of silent braying.
“David’s son... Help me.”
There was a voice next to his ear, and a hand on his shoulder.
“He wants to see you.”