Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter IX

Cornelius seemed to anticipate this attraction and had allowed it. One day, he invited me to ride with him in his chariot and pointed out a nice estate not far from his own. It wasn’t as large but quite sufficient for a man of my means. Cornelius had taken Athena one evening and spoke with her at length. Shortly thereafter, he had wedded us. Lending us servants and soldiers to do our bidding, Athena and I settled in our new home. She was a natural when it came to running a household and keeping it in order. She also began to make changes in the outer and inner spaces of the home. It was during one of her daily routines of managing the home that she came across the sandals that Cornelius had returned after moving here. I was away for several days in Galilee and not returned with my squadron until late the fourth day.

“Athena, have you by chance seen an old pair of sandals among my belongings?” I asked

“Yes, Antony.” Athena replied. “I gave them to the beggar that cries for alms by the fountain in the square”

I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing something of that nature myself. They haunted me as if they were calling out for me to doing more with them – having no one to use them for what they were intended.

Athena had not been told whose sandals they were or how they had come by being in my parcels.

“How is it that you had them?” She then asked. “They have the look of native wear and not like the sandals you wear.”

I looked at her in quiet amazement. Her life would have been a waste in serving any other God but the true One. How was it that a non Jew practiced so well in her early life and now complete in her knowledge in knowing where all good things do flow. Quick to defend the defenseless and generous to a fault, the liberty in her soul and spirit were grandiose.

“Antony?” she queried once more.

“My awesome lady, the One that wore them last would – and in fact I know – commends you for your act of kindness and generosity.”

“What? What do yoy mean? I don’t understa –“

I looked at her and saw the uncertainty mingle with the first few threads of awareness of whom I spoke.

“How did you come by them?” Athena asked as awareness awoke with clarity of whom I spoke. Now an uneasy fear and uncertainty mixed in her dark eyes that entranced me so.

The quickness of the marital arrangement had not left time to discover one another. It was the custom for the father of the bride to make arrangements with the groom’s parent or the groom himself in some cases in striking a marital bond between the two. In this case, Cornelius had acted on behalf of her deceased father, killed in battle, in making the arrangement between myself and Athena.

“They were the Master’s”, I stated simply.

“I seeee-e. H-how did you come t-to have t-them? She stammered out.

I could well sense her fear of the uncertainty of knowledge mix with dread of the truth.
I reached to brace her in my arms as I knew what I had to relate to her would not be easy. Her skin was warm, vibrant but not one of anticipation of romance but horror.
I was not one to beat around the bush so I stated matter of factly: “I won them when we parceled out his garments and other attire”.

“Y-you w-won t-them……you were there….w-where he was cr-crucified?” Athena shakily quieried.

“I was under orders and I did not underst – realize who He really was until – “

Athena pulled out of my hold and fled the house.

Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter IX

Thomas Josiah Chappelle

Oxford, United States

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