Last week, I gave you a Gift for Jesus, that starred some of the characters from my upcoming novel, Revelations. Now the conclusion, We're Stronger Than One. Enjoy! And don't forget to visit the other Wednesday Briefers, whose links follow my tale! Also, after my tale, I've included a bonus!
We're Stronger Than One
“Have you chosen a song?”
I glance up, startled, from the keyboard, to find Thomas standing beside me. I hadn’t realized he stayed behind. The others have all gone to pick up Mary M at the airport. She’s joining us tonight; as a spectator, not a performer. She knows we’ll be singing together, Jesus and I, and told him she wouldn’t miss that for the world. Oh joy. Not that I begrudge her being there—I don’t—but because I don’t need any more performance anxiety than I now have.
No comments, please.
I shake my head. I’ve sifted through a lot of sheet music that I downloaded and printed out, and rejected everything. Too fast. Too slow. Too romantic. Not romantic enough. If it were anyone else, I’d say to hell with it and refuse to do it. But it’s not, it’s Jesus, and I’ll be damned if I can say those words to him, now or ever. Why he even wants to do this, I don’t know. He’s the singer in the family, not me. But he asked, and I agreed. First and last performance.
“Still thinking.” I brush my fingers across the keys, feel them vibrate beneath my fingertips. I’ve taught myself to play—a little—over the years. Something else I’d never do in public. Or with them.
“Don’t worry so much, Judas, you’ll do fine.” He pats my shoulder reassuringly. “You have a nice voice.”
I do? News to me. He’s just being nice, and I know it. He’s the only one of them that ever is, though, and I appreciate him. I manage a smile as he riffles through some of the discarded selections.
“What about this one?” He holds out a piece. I take it, glance at the title. Doesn’t look familiar.
“I don’t know it.”
“The words are nice. Pick it out?”
What have I got to lose? I tap at the keys, surprised at how much I like the tune. But can I learn it so quickly? And what of Jesus? Can I take the chance?
I don’t know.
“Think he might—”
I look up and he’s gone. I shrug and return to the music, letting it play over and over in my head. The song reminds me of my Jesus. His image warms me, producing fireworks in my heart. Maybe this will work…
Hours later, the concert’s begun, and I’m standing beside Mary M on the floor near the stage, keeping an eye on things. No animosity between us, but a new understanding and appreciation.
“Where’s your buddy?” she jokes, glancing about us. “You know, Mr. Lassiter?”
I snort. She means Lucifer. “He’s had some stick up his ass lately. Maybe he’s having it removed.”
That elicits a guffaw.
Shit. It’s time to go. “Try not to laugh too hard,” I admonish her as I climb up on the stage. Jesus is already there, and he’s beaming at my approach. If I’m nervous, he’s Mr. Cool. Glad one of us is.
He takes my hand and pulls me in for a kiss. “Ready, Jude?” he whispers, placing one hand over his wireless mic.
Ready as I’ll ever be. I imagine he’s even more so.
I’ve dressed in pale blue robes tonight, to match Jesus and the band. Jesus wears white, symbolic of his pure heart.
“Are you sure?” I question and he nods.
“We have something special for you all.” Jesus addresses the audience. “My husband Jude is going to sing with me.” A polite smatter of applause, more for him than me, I’m sure. Did I mention he has a beautiful voice? He does.
I glance toward the band, waiting for them to begin, but they’re not there. Now I’m confused. A spotlight blossoms, and I spy Thomas sitting at the keyboard. At a nod from Jesus, he begins to play, and I recognize the melody I’ve been practicing all afternoon, as Jesus affixes a second mic to my robe and begins to sing.
All of my doubts fall away at the sound of his lovely voice, as it flows through me and around me, and I join my own to his, caught up in the words and the melody.
“Let me carry you, when you’re tired, you can carry me when I’m sad. Lean on me, I’ll lean on you, for together we’re stronger than one.”
A hush seems to have fallen around us, and nothing else exists but he and I, and here and now, and our love, this two thousand year old love that burns as hotly as any star in the firmament.
“Walk with me, on this path, this life that we’ve just begun, and keep smiling, smile for me, show the world that you are my love, and together we’re stronger than one.”
He’s looking into my eyes, and my heart swells in my chest, and by some fortuitous circumstance—or perhaps the all-knowing planning of a higher power—I hear Mary M’s voice doing a countdown.
Happy New Year!
Amidst screaming and crying and confetti and the familiar refrain of Auld Lang Syne, my husband wraps his arms around me and kisses me for the first time in this new year. I return his kiss, lost in him, as the tent goes crazy around us. When we finally pull back slightly, he murmurs in my ear, “I have a confession to make, Jude.”
Him? Confession? Seriously? I’m sure he can see my skepticism. He’s perfect, he can do no wrong.
“A slight dishonesty on my part,” he confesses. “That song…”
“What about it?”
“Thomas planted it for me.”
“He what? Why?” I’m baffled.
“I wasn’t sure you’d like it, and if I told you where it came from, I was afraid you wouldn’t be honest with me about it.”
“What do you mean? I loved it.”
His smile grows wider. “I wrote it for you, Jude. I love you.”
This is going to be a great year, I can feel it.
* * * *
Bonus – the complete lyrics to Stronger Than One
When you smile, I can see all the reasons why I fell in love
And your smile means to me more than anything in the world, my love
So keep smiling, smile for me; show the world that you are my love
For you’re everything in the world to me.
Let me carry you, when you’re tired
You can carry me when I’m sad
Lean on me, I’ll lean on you
For together we’re stronger than one.
Love is a gift that God gave to the world,
It comes in all sizes and shapes,
But the love that you taught me goes beyond everything
Now my knowledge of love is complete
Take my hand, and my heart, and keep smiling for me, my love,
Walk with me, on this path, this life that we’ve just begun
And keep smiling, smile for me, show the world that you are my love,
And together we’re stronger than one.
Yes, together we’re stronger than one.
Now see what the other Briefers are doing to ring in the New Year!
Victoria Adams m/f