Off the Hook

by joanabagano

320px-San_Leo-la_cella_di_CagliostroThe blame game began sixteen or fifteen years ago. I broke a video game disc my cousins owned and loved. Knowing I was in for a serious beating, I desperately thought of something to cover up what I thought was one of my biggest sins so far.

“Not me,” was a line that always came in handy, or so I thought. If I were proud of anything in the disc story, it was that I was good enough not to point the finger although it was itching to unfold from my red hand. Of course, pride wore the exact frilly ribbons I had on my head.

The blame game was something that I was eventually forced to play. I did not exactly want in, but I had to. And boy, was I good at it, especially when I had my dear baby brothers nearby. They were my best friends one minute and my scapegoats the next.

I registered a dangerous process in my mind, one that I would later find difficult to throw away because of the counterfeit comfort it brought. Back then, my mistakes were always the result of somebody’s influence, the urgency of a moment, the supposed lack of another option. I was not fully to blame.

Pontius Pilate raised me well. He taught me to wash my hands, even in front of the One who knew that my whole being was buried in muck.

Adam said, “It’s the woman.”

Eve said, “It’s the serpent.”

He said, “It’s you.”

My enemy and I are one and the same. When Paul said he could not do what he ought to do and did what he was forbidden to do, he was telling me my heart was capable of the same thing. And if we had to point a finger, we would need a mirror first.

He said, “It’s you.”

But He took the lashes. He took the beating. His blood for my blame. On that afternoon, in the searing heat of the sun and the deafening cries of the crowd, I was Barrabas the prisoner, set free.