One evening I awaken to the sound of birds, chirping. I get up from my bed and walk around on the roof of the palace, where a red-rumped swallow is trying out its skill in a courtship song. It is springtime. The hills around my city roll in and out of green. The trees beacon me from afar, bearing their blossoms.
Through the decorative lattice that marks the edge of my roof I see a woman, an achingly beautiful woman bathing on a close-by roof. She has just wrapped herself with something translucent, so her body is hidden from sight—all but a distant impression of her foot.
The first time I saw Bathsheba, back in Hebron, happened seven years ago. Luckily, at that time I had no historians in my employ, which is why that incident has gone unnoticed, and unrecorded in the scrolls. It remains known to me alone, and to her.
At the time I doubted she had caught sound of my footfalls. I edged closer, advancing stealthily along the shadow, a seemingly endless shadow cast across the flat surface of her roof. Never once did I stop to remind myself that such behavior is unbecoming of a king.
And who could blame me? In her presence I was reduced to a boy.
I brought my crown along, simply to impress her, even though it sat somewhat uncomfortably on my head. It was a bit too large for me, and too loose, too, because it had been fashioned to fit the skull of my predecessor, Saul.
On my way I leapt across a staircase, leading down from the roof. On a railing, there in front of me, was a large Egyptian towel, laying there as if to mark a barrier. I told myself, This isn’t right. I should stop, stop right here and whatever happens I should cover my eyes, avoid taking a peep at her.
Should I turn back?
And immediately I answered by asking, What? Stopping midway is nothing short of a sin. You would never forgive yourself.
To which I replied, stop talking to yourself already! Are you out of your mind?