(The eighth script in a series leading up to Easter. To start at the beginning, go here.)
Act Three, Scene Two
(NICHOLAS, JOSEPHINE, and MICHELLE are sitting in a room together. NICHOLAS is halfheartedly looking through a large book, JOSEPHINE is pacing, MICHELLE is just staring.)
JOSEPHINE: You can just say it, Michelle. You were right after all.
MICHELLE: Right about what?
JOSEPHINE: Not becoming a follower of Jesus. He was a fraud, like all the others.
MICHELLE: I wish I’d been wrong.
JOSEPHINE: And I wish I had listened to you. The body I buried—bloodied and torn…he was human, Michelle, just like any of us.
NICHOLAS: He was, after all, a good teacher, Josephine. The way he talked about God. God who loved us…
JOSEPHINE: I don’t appreciate being lied to, Nicholas. I don’t appreciate being…died on. Abandoned. Left clinging to a few stories about a banquet and a Father…
NICHOLAS: They were such beautiful stories, though.
JOSEPHINE: Stories are just lies, Nicholas. Let’s not kid ourselves. Not anymore.
NICHOLAS: I just can’t understand it. I was so sure he was the one.
JOSEPHINE: You carried his dead body, Nicholas. Saviors don’t die. Haven’t you read the Scriptures?
NICHOLAS: Of course I’ve read the Scriptures! I’ve memorized most of them!
MICHELLE: Josephine, now is not the time. He’s fragile, grieving….
NICHOLAS: Wait. The Scriptures… God loved the world so much…
JOSEPHINE: Yes, yes, you’ve told us that a thousand times. Jesus talked about a God of love. We get it.
NICHOLAS: No, no you don’t. “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that anyone who believes in him wouldn’t die, but live.” He gave his son—to the very end, the bitter end. And if we won’t die, what makes us think the son will?
JOSEPHINE: I don’t want to hear it.
NICHOLAS: And the Scriptures, the suffering servant, the sign of Jonah…maybe…maybe it does make sense, after all!
JOSEPHINE: Shut up, Nicholas. Just shut up. I won’t let you raises my hopes again. Not this time.
NICHOLAS (Shouts): But it’s all I have! (Quietly.) It’s all I have left. Hope.
JOSEPHINE: Hope died with him, Nicholas. And it’s time you—all of us—accepted that.
(JOSEPHINE exits. NICHOLAS keeps reading through the next scene, muttering to himself. MICHELLE sighs, then wanders off left, where she sees PETE slouched against the wall.)
MICHELLE: A foolish hope. But how could I say that to him, after all he’s gone through? Jesus is dead. And it’s my fault.
PETE: What did you say?
MICHELLE: Nothing. Nothing.
PETE: I heard you say the name Jesus.
MICHELLE (Looking more closely): You were one of his disciples, weren’t you?
PETE: I can’t say no. Not this time, not anymore. Not after the way he looked at me.
MICHELLE: He had a way of looking, didn’t he? Those eyes.
PETE: Like he could see everything you ever did, and why.
MICHELLE: And he talked like he was receiving the very words of God.
PETE: And he was the kind of person you’d follow to the end of the world, to the very gates of hell. Or, at least, you thought you would.
MICHELLE: If he would only be…
PETE: Not dead?
MICHELLE: Yes. Yes, I guess that’s what I want.
PETE: Even if he were alive, he wouldn’t want me. Not after what I did. I said I didn’t know him. Three times. I even swore—right outside the temple.
MICHELLE: Meanwhile, I was inside the temple, standing by while they condemned him to his death.
PETE: You’re one of them, aren’t you?
PETE (Suddenly defensive): I won’t lead you back to the others, if that’s what you’re trying to do. You can arrest me if you want. Even kill me. Why not? What’s the point? What’s the point of anything anymore?
MICHELLE: My thoughts exactly. (Laughs bitterly, sits down and leans against wall.) Here I am, a Pharisee, the most righteous of all, one of God’s chosen…and I’m even more guilty than you.
PETE: You don’t know what I’ve done.
MICHELLE: You let a friend down. Cursed. Ran away. We’ve all done it before.
PETE: I also cut off someone’s ear.
MICHELLE: Well, that one’s new.
PETE: You’re a Pharisee. So you might know…does God give second chances? Before the Final Judgment?
MICHELLE: God might. Death doesn’t. And that’s the end of the story.
PETE: I don’t like that ending.
MICHELLE: Neither do I. (PETE exits. MICHELLE sighs and follows.)