• Mark Woods

Mary of Magdala

I was a troubled woman, I know that. It was a dark time, and I don’t remember much about it. But they said he cast out seven demons from me. How would I know? I remember the darkness, that’s all.

It was dark when he died, too, and dark when they put him into that cave and sealed it with a great stone. I wept when they did it. I have wept much in my life, and it has often been dark.

If you ask what Jesus meant to me, it was sunshine. He was the light of my life, and I would follow him anywhere.

Women didn’t have an easy time in my world, you see: we had to know our place, and our place was where men said it was. It’s no wonder some of us became strange. We were bent out of shape. Jesus treated us as if we were real, and we became real.

When he died, we knew what we would have to do; what women have always done for men who die violently. We would wash him and anoint him, and care for him for the last time.

Well, we arrived, and there was no body there. Two men – angels, they said later – asked me why I was crying. Angels understand women as much as men do, then.

I don’t really remember them. I remember Jesus. And I looked at him. I looked at him. I looked at him.

I remember he told a story about a man who’d had a demon cast out of him, and he was clean, and a desirable residence, and so the demon found seven others and returned to him, so he was worse than before.

And I thought of how when I was growing up we would weed our gardens until it was all grey, fine soil, and how my mother fell ill one year and couldn’t plant it, and in a month it was all weeds again.

And I learned that the only way to make a garden was to fill it with flowers.

In the books it says I mistook Jesus for the gardener.

I know very well what I meant.


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