Author’s note – You get to know something of Peter in the NT, a man of courage and of fear. The only other disciple with much in the way of characterisation is Judas, and here we get Peter’s opinion. The other ten are Star Trek security guards with walk on parts. The opposite of the will to love is the will to power, and each is composite of four quadrants; strength, faith, hope and love versus certainty, despair, negation and sensation. In Peter we see an exploration of strength versus the anxiety of helplessness. I admire his honesty in narrating his own failings. The disciples were not perfect, but they kept on going even when they fell off the track. It is their resilience that is an example of best practice, not that they were born ‘more good’ than you and I. Faith is a verb, climbing back onto the road. Faith isn’t a concept, it is flesh real; Faith isn’t a leap into the abstract, it is a step within actuality …
My own work is a recontextualisation of the NT story, and in Susan’s tale we have an exploration of sex, sexuality, lust, and the damage done. The idea is to be honest, to challenge, and to explore the idea of grace versus desire in the company of a modern day disciple. If this is of interest then read on. If it isn’t, then, I suggest you stop here lest you be too grievously offended by my bloody prose.
Mt 22 – Jezebel
Susan tried on the wedding dress and posed for Lisa.
‘What do you think Lise?’
‘Beautiful, just beautiful,’ replied Lisa, smiling and nodding her approval at the slim fitting ivory dress.
‘When’s the big day?’ asked the assistant.
‘Saturday,’ replied Susan beaming with happiness, ‘two o’clock at Chorlton Register’s Office.’
‘I’m sure your husband will be blown away, you look stunning,’ replied the assistant.
Susan grinned, ‘I’m marrying a she not a he!’
The shop assistant turned bright red and apologised profusely. Lisa covered her face with both her hands giggling. Susan reassured the girl and touched her arm.
‘Don’t worry… can I pay now and pick the dress up Friday?’
Susan and Lisa left the shop and burst out laughing in the street.
‘I think she wanted the ground to swallow her up,’ Lisa gasped.
‘Lisa, thank you so much for coming with me. Who knows, it could be you next!’
Lisa smiled; ‘I would like to marry Jude, I‘m ready now… he just needs to pluck up the courage to ask me. And if he doesn’t, then, maybe, I’ll have to ask him!’
The two women laughed, linked arms, and walked down the streets crowded with shoppers and people hurrying to and from their places of work.
‘Sue, me and Jude are going to get you and Daisy a wedding present. I know you two have pretty much everything already in your flat. But we wanted to get you some art, and I need to choose the frame today. Would you mind if I split for an hour and met you in the sushi bar in Selfridges later for lunch?’
‘That’s very kind of you, but you don’t have to, Lisa, you know that. I do need some knickers and socks though, why don’t we meet up at 1.30?’
Lisa hurried off down Deansgate. Susan smiled to herself as she crossed to St Anne’s Square. The thought of being Daisy’s wife filled Susan with a tingly excitement. As she approached Marks and Spencer it was a surprise to hear someone call her name. Spinning around Susan came face to face with Salva Veni who stood outside the open door of a black limousine.
‘You!’ gasped Susan.
‘I understand congratulations are in order, Doctor Bartos. We do of course wish you and your future wife to be a long and happy life together.’
Susan stood, routed to the spot. ‘What do you want?’
Veni smiled; ‘Just to talk, please join me in the car, I promise you will be back in time for your luncheon date. Please, if we wished you any harm then we two would not be here talking.’
It was as if another person steered her body into the car, it was as if another person took control of her body when Veni kissed her as the limo pulled out into the Manchester traffic. Veni looked her in the eyes, stroked her hair; kissed her lips.
‘There are no rules for people like us, Susan.’
‘I’m getting married on Saturday Salva,’ Susan whispered.
‘I know, and you have my blessing. In Eden it was we women who first tasted the knowledge of good and evil. What are you doing with this Christ, Susan? Let unbelief caress you as it once did, create your own meaning, don’t be a slave to a man. You shall be a Goddess. Let me worship you, Eve. You can have your Daisy if you wish, but I must have you. Do you love me?’
‘I, How did you know? It was all so simple just a few minutes ago, now I don’t know where I am.’
‘You are with me. I am your true wife. I always have been.’
Salva Veni took a small knife from her pocket and pricked Susan’s ring finger until blood ran down. She cut into her own ring finger and pressed her hand to Susan’s.
‘See. We are united in blood. Nothing can shake the bond we have made. You are my wife now, and I am a jealous lover. We stand together at the void, Susan. Let it fill you, breathe it in, drink from meaningless, there is nothing to fear.’
Veni placed Susan’s bloodied hand onto her own breast. Blood smeared her white blouse.
‘Marry this girl, she is my gift to you, but you are mine. See, look out through the window, we are back where we started.’
The car pulled up the kerb. The male driver got out and opened the door. Veni kissed Susan’s face tenderly.
‘Go, and when you make love to her, think of me.’