Cavalry and Calvary
Just a short time ago everything seemed so different; the only way to describe it is to re-imagine the feeling of the period leading up to my marriage. I was so in love, full of optimism and anticipation. My friends were wittier; all wine exquisite and even the colors of the world around me were brighter and sharper. Looking became actually seeing for the first time; and in seeing I was filled with Joy wherever I turned. Time seemed to slow down, and so did my mind- answers that previously had been hidden away in some remote dusty corner, appeared before my heart- they were there the entire time in fact, hiding in plain sight. This is how it felt in those days… and not just to me; but for a certainty; everyone else felt the exact same way. Voices and eyes- even the way everyone moved exposed the reality that we had experienced something: we were changing, the world was changed, and nothing was to be the same. And now, this happened.
I was late getting back home that year. My duty in quartermaster took me away from time to time and on this trip we were delayed by some bad weather. Buying horses for the officer corps is a delicate business; one needs discernment of both animals and the men who sell them to procure the best lots. This is what I was commissioned to do in the Army, and after almost 20 years, I was good at it. Being good however entails patience; and it was this patience that cost me some precious days- and I fear my eternal soul.
It was near weeks end when we eased back to Antonia in the dead of night. Stabling the new stock took little time as they were trail broke and weary, anxiously seeking feed and rest. After dismissing my men I turned in my paperwork to the officer in charge. He asked me to take my ease as he checked over my report, but I protested and remained standing; three weeks horseback in the Eastern Wilderness gives a man an appreciation for standing up from time to time. “We thought you had deserted!” It was Felix, who had snuck up behind me during the inspection. He grabbed my mantle, spinning me around and embraced me like the brother he was… then he kneed me in the groin- an old greeting we had adopted during our long service together. “Foolish business” I countered, “for it is only six weeks until retirement and then, on to the happiness due me as a loyal citizen and gentleman farmer!” We both laughed, for those were the standard dreams of all of us: and after two decades of constant service they were a close reality. Twenty years of marching, fighting, and now garrison duty; soon to be in the past.
“Your plans may change, Antonius. There have been some big developments since your departure. Did you not notice anything when you arrived?” In truth I had not- being so intent on the horses and in getting back, my mind was occupied with the task at hand- and I said as much. “This town has been in an uproar these past few days. That Iesu fellow you carry on about arrived for the Passover, and the entire city welcomed Him as Royalty. Now as a kind gesture in return, the Temple this very night has seized Him and is planning some evil deed for horning in on their power. Things are looking grim for Him; and for us I fear”