All her fault by James Archer
The narrator of this monologue is Heli, the father of Joseph. He is bitter and bewildered that things have not turned out as he had hoped, full of self-pity and lacking in self-awareness. He is speaking a few months after the visit of the wise men, having just received a letter from Joseph in Egypt. This drama avoids comfortable assumptions about those whose lives were impacted by the Christmas story.
It’s all her fault. If only he’d never set eyes on the little slut. Things were going swimmingly until she came on the scene. And then …..whoomph, it all went belly up.
I’m not getting any younger. I’m too old to keep the business going on my own without a young man to do the heavy lifting. Months of wondering where he’s got to, whether he’s safe and well, and now this.
“Dear Dad, hope you’re well. We had to escape to Egypt in a hurry, will be back when it is safe. Don’t worry about us, all is well. Love, Joseph, Mary and Jesus.”
Thanks a million, son, see if I care if your old Dad has to give up the business and leave nothing to you. You might even find he’s no longer around when you remember that you’re meant to be looking after him in his old age.
Mind you, most of our respectable clients have already jumped ship after you disgraced yourself by marrying that girl after what she’d done. Or was it you that got her in the family way and refused to admit it? You can’t say I didn’t warn you. If you can’t trust her when you’re not even married yet, don’t kid yourself that you can trust her later. Mark my words, you’ll live to regret it.
I mean, honestly. Seeing angels in the lunch-break. Overpowered by the shadow of the Almighty. God’s the father! Hadn’t she got the brains to make up a better story? And what does my brilliant son do – falls for it hook line and sinker! Talk about what you want to believe. I thought he’d seen sense when she first told him, and then the next morning he’s changed his mind and decided to stick with her.
And to think I was so happy when he fell for her, so young and innocent, with a winning smile and a simple faith. How could we all have been fooled, the hussy? They say still waters run deep. Off she goes to stay with her cousin for a few months so as to avoid the stares of the neighbours, but when she comes back she’s out here and there’s no hiding her disgrace.
He seemed only too keen to get out of the village with her. I can’t say I blame her for wanting to be away, go to the city where nobody knew, but why did he go with her? They say there’s no fool like a young man in love. The census gave him an excuse to go away. He should have done what the rest of us did and said we were from here. But o no, he’s so hung up on his royal pedigree that he has to head off to Bethlehem. Fat lot of good that did him, even there it got too hot to handle, and now he’s in some slum in Egypt.
Son, you’ve made your bed, and now you’ll have to lie on it. Your old father will die of neglect, and you’ll be sorry when you hear of it. The neighbours look at me with pity, but they won’t lift a finger to help me, or they might share my shame. I can’t even go to the synagogue any longer, they all treat me like a leper.
Son, I never thought to hear you called a sinner. You’re a fool, a deluded fool, and I hope you’re happy with the choice you’ve made. But you’ve brought disgrace on your whole family, and I’ll never forgive you for that. And it’s all her fault, the little slut.
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