It was a gorgeous afternoon on the Nile. The blue-green water sparkled like sapphires in the bright sun. Asenath sat on the deck of her pleasure felucca, an Egyptian sailboat made of woven reeds.
What a marvelous day for sailing!
Joseph was in the stern taking a nap, and a slave steered the boat.
Everything was splendid and relaxing.
But, suddenly, Asenath heard a thump and was thrown overboard by the sudden jerk of the boat. In a split second, she was submerged in the icy water. She didn’t realize what was happening until her lungs began to constrict.
Air. I need air.
She struggled against the current to the top and took a deep breath before the current pulled her under again. The river was moving her farther and farther away from the boat.
Rising to the top again, she screamed, “Help!”
Then, she was back under. A rock was approaching to her left. She desperately grabbed it and thrust her head out of the water. The current’s strength tried to rip her from the rock, but she held on with all her might.
If I don’t let go, I will be alright.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a log moving toward her. To her horror, she realized that it was no log. It was a crocodile!
“Help!” she yelled. “It’s a crocodile!”
Cold and shivering, she clung to the rock.
I can’t let go. I’ll drown. What to do!
In her confusion, she did nothing. She watched with terror as the crocodile came closer and closer.
Then, without any warning, a man was suddenly standing on the rock. He pulled out a bow and arrow and shot the crocodile.
It paused for a minute, but it kept coming, now towards the man.
Quickly, he reset the bow. He shot it again and again until finally, it was dead.
We are saved!
But, Asenath’s grip began to loosen. “I’m… I’m slipping! I can’t…”
Her hold on the rock gave way, and she was back under. Asenath was exhausted.
I can’t fight anymore.
She closed her eyes, surrendering to her fate.
As the current pulled her deeper, she felt strong hands grab her waist.
The man slung Asenath’s limp body over his back. He began to swim over to the shore, fighting the current. It seemed like hours as he kicked, trying to make it. With one final heave, he pushed himself and Asenath onto the shore.
He didn’t even stop to breath before forcing water out of Asenath’s lungs. “Please live.”
Asenath began to cough. Her eyes opened. “Joseph?” she whispered.
“Yes, it’s me, my love,” reassured the dripping wet man.
“You…you saved my life.”
“Shhh. You need rest.”
“Joseph!” She fell to her knees in front of him. “I have been so awful to you. I am not even worthy of your forgiveness.”
“But you are forgiven freely!”
“How can I possible make it up to you?”
He knelt down beside her, took her hands, and whispered, “Love me.”
She looked up into his bright eyes and flung her arms around him. “I do! I do love you!”
Tears of joy welled up in Joseph’s eyes. “I have longed for this day. Why did you fight love for so long?”
“I thought that love only brought pain.”
“Ah, love is powerful. Even more powerful than this river. When it is blocked, it brings pain. But, then, you must make another outlet for your love. Blocking love brings pain, not love by itself.”
“Yes, that makes sense now.”
“I love you with all my heart.”
“As do I.”
That evening, after Asenath had bathed, she went to her room without the normal trepidation.
Joseph was reading on his couch. When she entered, he stood and kissed her hand. Asenath blushed.
She sat down at her dressing table so that Oni could unpin her hair. Oni came over and was about to begin when Joseph said, “Wait. May I?”
Oni bowed and scurried out with a wink to her mistress. “Of course.”
He began to gently unpin her locks and let them flow down. “You know,” Joseph started, “when I first saw you at your shack, I thought you very lovely in your simple tunic and long hair.”
“Yes, where I use to live, all women wear their hair long. But when I saw you again at the Pharaoh’s palace, I almost cried in agony.”
“Why? Did you think I was ugly?”
“No. I was for sure that you had cut your hair for that silly wig. And though I thought you stunning on our wedding night, I wish that you had not cut your hair.”
“I had to wear a wig! It is horrible for a person not to.”
“Yes. I know that. I just never thought that you would be able to pin it up so expertly. No one can even see a bulge.”
Asenath laughed. “Well, that did take time.”
“Anyway, when I saw it down that first night, I wanted to leap for joy. I have longed ever since that moment to run my finger through it. Now, I finally can.”
“You may do so whenever you like, if… I can ruffle your hair!” She jumped up laughing.
Joseph laughed too. “Not my beautiful hair!”
He ran and hid behind the bed.
“Come here! I’m dying to touch it!” Asenath joked. She ran over to him and was about to ruffle his hair when they heard a knock on the door.
It was Oni. “Is everything alright, mistress?”
“Yes, Oni, it is quite fine. Go home to your husband,” Joseph said.
Oni’s eyes twinkled. “Yes, my lord.”
The minute she left, Asenath dived for his hair and rumpled it. He let out a clear chuckle and embraced her. She looked up at him, and he kissed her forehead.
“You have captured my heart, my bride. You captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.”
“My eyes? My eyes are nothing special,” Asenath said shyly.
“Oh yes, they are. They are deep pools of creativity and natural beauty. They remind me of my grandmother Rebekah’s eyes. As a child, I thought that she was the fairest woman in the entire world. But, I met you.”
“Your eyes also captivated me.”
“They are honest and faithful and…never looked on me with lust.”
“Are you tired, my love?”
“Then, we will go to bed.” Joseph headed for his couch.
Asenath got into bed, all of a sudden, lonely. “Joseph, you are my husband. Come to bed.”
He nodded knowingly. Climbing into bed, he enveloped her in his arms.
He is my beloved. And my friend.