A short time later, as I ride into the royal courtyard, I see a glow. Torches are burning inside the palace, letting out a flicker here, a flicker there through the windows. They make shadows spill down the stairs from the entrance, in my direction.
And up there, framed against the glitter in the central window, stands a curvy silhouette. Even from a distance, my eyes seek hers. Bathsheba.
I dismount my horse and with measured steps, as befits a king, I go up into the court, which is where I see her taking her seat, right there in the center, among the rest of the women. The first ones to notice my arrival are the boys. They rush to me from all directions, and cling to my hands.
To my amazement my first wife, Michal, and my second, Abigail, kneel before Bathsheba, taking turns rocking something in front of her: a little crib.
She rises to her feet, clasping a hand to her heart. All these months of war, of separation, have collapsed at long last into a single heartbeat.
Bathsheba wipes her eyes, then breathes my name.
To which I say, “Yes, here I am. I have arrived.”
“Hush, my love,” she whispers. “The baby, he’s just fallen asleep.”
She can tell, can’t she, how surprised I am.
Opening her arms to me she brings me in, which reminds me of the last time I held her. Now as then, her smell is sweet as milk.
This has been an adventurous journey, and a long one. In my exhaustion I can barely move my lips, yet I know she will read me. “What’s his name?”
“Yes,” I say, telling myself how fortunate it is for him, and how timely, to be named for peace. “Solomon.”
There is a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. How fortunate it is for me to find myself back here. I am a father. I am the keeper of my family, and the shepherd of my people. What a moment this is, the perfect moment to usher in a new era.
David in A Peek at Bathsheba
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