A Memory of the Christ by the Apostle John

Adam McOmber


And the Word was made flesh, and it dwelt among us. I remember how that flesh felt against mine, thin and made of bones. Ribs pressed to skin. Arms, long and frail. He was like a gentle animal left too long at pasture. I remember thinking to myself, this is not the body of the Christ. This is the body of a man. Good but not strong. I remember I could feel his breath against my neck. I could smell the oil of his hair. Our room was hot, even when the sun had set. A gentle wind moved the branches of the olive tree that grew in the garden beyond. He would whisper to me in the darkness as we lay upon our pallet. He said: "John, I will tell you things I cannot tell the others." And he held me then in his arms, as John the Baptist once held him in the river. There were times, I think, he believed I was that other John. He confessed to me that he had strange dreams. He said he walked in places between the stars. And the darkness there felt like a lonely house. In these dreams, he wished he was not alone. He wished I was there with him. I said I could not walk with him in places between the stars. I said I was not like him. And he would kiss my neck with the same mouth that he used to speak to the people. He would say, "John, we are not so different." And he believed that was true. I remember I closed my eyes. I felt him press against me. His kisses grew more passionate. And when he was finally inside of me for the first time, something happened I knew I could never tell him. When he was inside of me, I was no longer with him on the pallet in our room. Instead, I walked in places between the stars. I walked for a long while. And the darkness there did not feel like a lonely house to me. No, it was crowded with forms, the shapes of men and women, suspended just beyond the edges of my vision. Their mouths hung open in the darkness. Their eyes were wide. And it was then that I saw what they saw: the very absence of the light was not an empty thing. Every space here, every particle, was inhabited. And it was a cold figure who lived in that space. A figure who would never speak. A figure who would never give word. Something had been mistaken. Something misunderstood. I remember I called out on the pallet in our small hot room. And the Christ, good man, thrust deeper, believing I called out in ecstasy.