A long time ago I used to think that my youth was to blame for failing to understand my wives. No longer can I use that excuse, because I know all too well, there is no youth in me anymore. Which leaves me as baffled as ever, especially when it comes to the one woman I adore: Bathsheba.
When I catch her scent, or even when I imagine it, something in me turns to liquid. Then, trying to harden my heart and remove her from my mind I find myself confused, and the rage in me intensifies, perhaps because I cannot remember the last time I have seen her. Alas, the distance between us seems to expand in so many ways with each passing year.
So imagine my surprise this morning, when I wake up to the soft sound of her footfalls, which makes me turn my eyes to the wall to try, to catch sight of her reflection. There it is, moving fluidly across the blade, the wide, polished blade of Goliath’s sword which is hung in my chamber, right here over my head.
First Bathsheba throws open the window, letting in a cold morning breeze. As if to tell me that this is already autumn, a smell of dry leaves wafts in. The silk curtains start swishing as they sway, they billow wildly around her, blotting and redrawing the curves of her silhouette, which in a blink, brings back to me the fullness of her figure back then, when she was expecting our first child. I remember the way I held her in my arms that hot summer evening, right there by that window. Together, we looked out at the last glimmer of the sun, sinking.
I remember the way she guided my hand, ever so gently, so I could feel her skin, her warmness, and the faint kick of the baby inside her. Then the glow dimmed, it smoldered into darkness. After a while we could no longer guess the exact place where it had happened.
Now, looking at her back from across the chamber, I wonder: does she remember that moment? And if so, does she remember it fondly? Is there a glint of laughter playing in her eyes?
David in A Peek at Bathsheba (narrated by the wonderful Justin Harmer)
In this passage David expresses his longing for Bathsheba. He is already in his old age, and the longing he feels is not only for the woman he loves but for that perfect moment, back in his youth, when they were clinging together in perfect harmony. The painting below, by Jacob Adriaensz. Backer, shows them yearning for each other's touch: her cheek brushes against his, her hand over his shoulder, bringing him even closer, her left hand held by his. And behind them, in the background, the half-full goblet of wine, standing erect as a symbol of their sensuality, and of the fleeting moment.
David and Bathsheba by Jacob Adriaensz. Backer
★ Love reading? Get the trilogy ★
Volume I: Rise to Power
Volume II: A Peek at Bathsheba
Volume III: The Edge of Revolt