Pat says I'm fiction but I don't believe it.
I remember the day rough boys poked a sharp stick in my eye and forever made me the man with two-color eyes. Pat uses a cheetah to portray me but I'm not a wild animal.
A blue-eyed man stopped at LaRue's brothel one day and I came into being. He wore the uniform of a Roman soldier. Because most of her clients had the dark eyes of Jews, the soldier's blue eyes frightened her. So she remembered him.
LaRue taught me. The rabbi didn't accept me in his classes. He only instructed the children of good citizens. Despite his rejection I learned well. LaRue came from an intellectual family.
Only Abdiel played with me. We ran and swam in the pond, two small boy who liked to race. The son of a prominent man in the village, nevertheless, he didn't care about my mother.
One day I strolled down the road when bigger boys surrounded me and jumped on me. They beat me and one poked a sharp stick in my eye. As I lay unable to rise, two of the ruffians tried to set me on fire, holding a torch to my face. I remember their laughter. Only my chin burned. The man, Gersham never grew a beard there.
The beating stopped when a chariot clattered up beside us and the man chased them away with a donkey whip. ironically, he wore the uniform of a Roman soldier. He lifted me gently and took me home in the chariot. I never saw him again.
Before that day, children tormented me because of my mother‘s profession--as though I chose disgrace. After that day, I daydreamed that my father saved me. In my mind, the soldier became the father who loved me.
My vision survived the beating, but the hazel didn’t return to blue.
Afraid to leave the house, I imprisoned myself behind closed doors, curled up behind my bed. One day LaRue ordered me to go to the market. I walked near the walls, striving for invisibility against the dark space. A group of big boys begged in the market door.
I realized that such big boys could protect me and I took two of them home. Neither had a mother so LaRue took them in. For the first time they felt loved. Both LaRue and the girls babied them.
We went everywhere together--a team: Rahel, Casey, and Gersham. No one dared to touch us. I hate conflict: the old fear assaults me. But Rahel and Casey had no hesitation in beating anyone who bothered them--two angry boys who became two angry men.
In my teens, I lured young girls home for LaRue. Throughout my life, I did what I had to do to survive, as my mother did.
Mary approached the girls at the market doors because she liked their jewelry. They wrapped themselves in the finest fabrics, and she saw wealth. A beautiful girl, rich men would pay for her. I didn't force her.
After the visit of Lazarus and Hamel, she knew she couldn't go home. Hamel hated her. He wasn't a man of forgiveness, and she feared for her life. She cried at night for a month. Then she accepted her lot.
She left after she visited the teacher, dressed as other respectable women dressed, hair covered, in the tan tunic they wore for work. Modestly, she directed her eyes to the ground.
The teacher changed her with a word.
I missed her, a sweet, kind girl, and tried to get her back. Lazarus and Martha swung rods at me but I ran before their rods landed.
Mary blamed me because she became a harlot though she had an equal part in her decision. She didn't understand what it meant to live with LaRue; and I didn't think it wrong.
Net Attic: photo same cheetah but artist enhanced. Cheetah doesn't have two-color eyes. Artist unknown.
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Patricia Annalee Kirk