It made no sense really.
Three strange men, well-dressed, well-spoken, two shy of handsome and one savagely beautiful at my door.
I live in the middle of nowhere in the house of my parents, my inheritance and holder of my memories. Each memory is enclosed in a part of the house or in a thing given to me, like an insect in amber, preserved in the slowly hardening leak of sticky time, polished to a high luster, preserved though the life is long dead.
I invited them in of course though the floor had just been scrubbed and there was camel dung on their shoes. The laws of hospitality are clear even if I was in the middle of washing the walls of the never-occupied spare room.
Still, it was nice to have someone to eat my baking. So often I make something, wishing to share the yeasty knowledge and love I received through my mother’s bread and cakes, but there is no one to eat these offerings but me. So they mold or harden, growing stale and inedible; life yet again wasted.
They were travelers with such a strange end. Not business as I first thought or marriage or even politics, but a star. “Had I not seen it?” the youngest asked with youth’s unwitting condescension. Are there not hundreds of stars in the sky? Who has the time to study them all when there is churning to be done? Of course, a wealthy young man like he would have many servants; a luxury denied me.
(And does he not know the terror of starting at those stars and realizing how small and alone one is in the face of a vast universe? I cannot look at the stars; far better to tend to the things controlled, the fire on the hearth, the mending in the basket.)
The old one smiled at youth, “It is not the star that we seek, but he whom the star serves.”
How can a star serve anyone? It cannot make beds or the pluck the chickens. “Who is that? “I asked politely. Hospitality is clear: we must humor the insane.
“A King!” cried the youth.
“A Sacrifice, “ said the old.
“Love, “ said the dark. As I bustled toward the kitchen (surely that was the pot boiling over.) he caught my cracked, calloused hand in his long-fingered, soft one, “Come with us.”
“For love? “ I said stupidly, an old woman whom love has long passed by.
My heart moved.
Then the pot boiled over.