Sunday, April 1, 2018

I could dub this journey, ‘The war to end all wars’

 I remove my crown, and with a heavy heart I raise my arms, and put a bronze helmet in its place. The time for words is over, except for using them to excite my troops into following me. Come what may, victory or defeat, together we will march from one battlefield to the next. 
I could dub this journey, ‘The war to end all wars.’ 
I tack my horse by putting the saddle on, then the girth and the bridle. I hold the reins, bounce gently in the stirrup, then swing my leg over, and sit down in the saddle. Then, with a select group of fighters, I ride out of the compound. Its gates creak to a close behind me. 
What I leave back there is the past: seven years as the ruler of a single tribe. This place is too small, too provincial to serve me any longer, because now I am the king of a new entity. I am king of Israel. 
The children of Hebron cheer me as I pass them. So do the women, who come out to kiss their men. All of them wave at me. I wave back, thinking I caught a glimpse of Bathsheba. 
Then I realize my mistake. It is another girl, combing her long, damp hair. She bends over the iron railing of her terrace, the better to see us as we are leaving town. A minute later she, too, becomes a distant outline.
This is farewell to an era, farewell to a place. Win or lose I may never come back here again. 

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