Just this morning I woke up to a surprise: Bathsheba slipped into my bed, wearing a soft, silky robe that glided, ever so smoothly, off her shoulders. I knew she was in a playful mood—if you know what I mean—because of her sudden cravings.
“Strengthen me with raisins,” she murmured in my ear. “Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.”
I rushed to bring her a tray of ripe fruit. Then I put my arm around her and could not wait until she was done eating. Between one little nibble and another she told me, in her most delicious voice, to slow down.
“Do not arouse or awaken love,” she said, “until it so desires.”
In place of an answer I reclined back on the bed, and pointed at the blanket. I do not want to brag about it, but the fabric was stretching to a peak over me, tenting my arousal.
Just then I thought I heard someone tiptoeing just outside the chamber, in the corridor. I leapt off the bed and was surprised to find little Solomon there, his ear to the door and his hand tucked behind him, hiding something from me.
“Show me what you’ve got there,” I said.
The kid shook his head till his freckles nearly flew of his nose. “No,” he said, with a stubborn tone.
So I warned him, “I know what you’ve done.”
His eyes widened. “You do?”
“Oh yes,” said I. “You’ve listened to every word we said, and worse: you’ve written it.”
“So?” He shrugs. “Is that a crime?”
“Only if you publish it.”
“Not going to.”
“All the same,” I insisted, “show me your hand.”
Solomon raised his hand to my eyes. And just as I had expected, the palm of it was covered with minute, inky characters, spelling out the sentence, “Do not arouse or awaken love, until it so desires.”
I peered into his innocent eyes. “You have any idea what that means?”
“Nope,” said the kid. “But I’m going to figure it out. It must become clear, if I look at it long enough. Then I’ll recite it out loud, before everyone—”
I cried, “You what?”
The kid smiled, and pulled his hand back. “I’ll tell them things like, ‘Strengthen me with raisins. Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.’ People find me adorable when they hear me say such words.”
“They say it’s pure poetry. They say I take after you, daddy! So it doesn’t really matter, does it, if I don’t get what exactly it all means—they will!”
“But, but,” I stammer, “these aren’t your words! They belong to your mom and me!”
“Don’t worry,” said Solomon. “I won’t tell them that.”
Straddling between anger and an undeniable sense of amusement I wagged my finger at him.
“Go wash your hand at once,” I said. “What we talk about, your mom and I, isn’t meant for your ears. It’s private.”
“Nope,” he said. “Once I write it down, it’s mine.”
“Isn’t,” said I.
Having closed the door I climbed back into bed.
Holding an apple in her hand Bathsheba offered me a bite and said, “Who was that?”
“Oh, no one,” said I. “Now, where were we?”
“Don’t you know?” she said, and in her soft, melodious voice, she started humming to me, between one kiss and another. “Kiss me, David, with the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.”
I was about to tell her we must keep it down. Instead I loosened her robe and while caressing her I hummed back, “I will go to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of incense. You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.”
Bathsheba smiled, and over my murmur she went on singing, “No wonder the young women love you! Take me away with you, let us hurry!”
“Oh yes,” said I. “Let us hurry.”
David and Bathsheba
Jacob Adriaensz. Backer
Tapisserie de David et Bethsabée
David and Bathsheba
Gustave Adolphe Mossa
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"I love this series for its convincing depiction of real people in ancient times, for its unflinching honesty, and for its vividly real characters. This David is no cardboard cutout to be filled in with bright crayoned colors. This Bathsheba is no plaything. And women will stand on the stage of history, will have their voice, and will cry out for love and hate and hope."
~Sheila Deeth, Vine Voice
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