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Samson and Delilah

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She sits, elegant and poised in front of the mirror, acknowledging her reflection but unable to look at it. To face up to it. At this moment, even the tethered ropes that held the amulet of Dagon seemed more interesting. She traces the features of the miniature idol with her fingers, like she had traced the features of Samson’s face the night before. However this time, her fingertips do not pulsate with fear. Her eyes bore into it, making fresh sculpts of their own. Her fingers dig holes into its eyes, like hot rods.

Her breathing stutters now; unsteady, her eyes firmly set at the table, darting through the curving bottles and objects that lay there. All Samson. The bowstrings, little strings ripped from the ropes and of course, tiny locks of hair, like scattered corpses all over her table. She searches her mind for justification. She glances into the mirror at the pile of money she had earned on her bed. She shuts her eyes in humiliation. The shekels topple on top of each other, struggling for air.

She thinks of them, suffocated in the hands of the chief as he described to her, with a leer in his eyes and on his lips, what he would do to her, what he would give her, if only she gave him Samson. ‘Cajole him, Delilah’. She curls her fingers into her hand and thinks of his warm golden hair, thick with passion and purity. She had run her fingers through it often and wondered why, of all the aspects of the Nazarite vow, he had only kept this one. She had thought of his wife in Timnah. He had loved her first. Looking at her lap, she feels the weight of his head, heavy with slumber.

His hands were soft like red wine to the lips. His eyes fell with great pains and hesitation to remain open, as if to foretell and savour their last moments. In impatience, she had slowly ran her fingers down them, coaxing them to their demise. His chest rose and fell, smothered in cotton robes. Every word she had whispered into his ear, of love and lust and passion; when did she stop meaning them? Did she ever? The way she swore her life to him, over and over again; had she only said it in irony? Her eyes walk meticulously along the ruffles of her bed. Samson’s laugh. The way is head cocked back to his Lord in disbelief.

She had sulked and burst into hollow tears of hollow protestation, begging him not to laugh or lie. That was the first time. As he slept, she had allowed the Philistines to enter and hide in the room. As he murmured softly, she had wrapped her father’s bowstrings around his wrist and to the bedpost. She shrieked ‘Samson! The Philistines! They are upon you! ‘ and he woke, snapping the strings into submission, as a strand of tows snap at the touch of fire. ‘As strong as the animal they were meant to kill’, her father had told her. He was a short and stout man, like the animals he was to kill.

She wondered what he would think now, whether he would understand her dilemma or glare at her sternly, searching for the girl he had raised. The first time, Samson had defeated the Philistines and looked to Delilah, panting in disbelief. His eyes dove inside hers struggling for an answer. She had betrayed him. He had flown into a rage; red and violent, swiping objects from her table onto the stone floor. He had sworn never to visit her, never to be seduced by her vice or touch. Panting out of the room, he had thrown her a look of fury and disgust, wiped his brow and marched away. The first time was the hardest.

The hardest to seduce him with the guilt accumulating inside, the hardest to face his rage, the hardest to hold back the tears and anguish that haunted her. She flicks her hair away from her eyes and wrings her fingers to rid herself of the jewels clasping them. Places them onto the table. She looks at her hands, shaking like branches in a bitter wind. She remembers the second time, only months later had she begged to Samson, declared her love and repentance to him. He had entered her quarters with reluctance and suspicion. Before he dared to lie with her, he searched every balcony and curtain, under every table and door.

She took his hand and placed it around her waist, looked into his eyes and swore her love. Her stomach tightens. She heard the way his breath calmed in her arms. The thought she had had when she held him. He loved her first. She wondered whether he ever thought of that peasant girl from Timnah. Perhaps she was his second chance at love. Or worse, his only chance left. It was then she had decided for more money. The chief laughed and searched for an agenda in her eyes. He was satisfied. ‘Eleven hundred shekels, Delilah.

Imagine what you could have with that much money. ‘ He had leaned towards his lips. Much more than a peasant girl could ever have’. She turned away. She thinks of Samson and her, laughing as they courted. She put a cup of wine to her lips, not letting her eyes away from his gaze, and sipped the wine. She had offered him some and he drank it. She stroked his lips, wet with grape. ‘Tell me what would be needed to bind you’. She held his gaze. His both drowned in intoxication. She was certain that he would tell her that time.

The new ropes, strangled Samson’s wrists as he slept deeply. The Philistines stirred behind the curtains, their eyes narrow and patient. Samson, Samson! The Philistines are upon you! ‘ He woke up, startled and violent with drunkenness. He had twisted his wrists to release their asphyxiation, toppled out of bed and grabbed his sword. He swung it about as the Philistines, perplexed at his strength, ran to save themselves. He held the sword up to Delilah’s neck, and she took his wrist and cried her innocence. She begged for mercy and protested that she was not to blame. He swayed gently and panted once again. Asked for a glass of water and sat on the bed with his head buried in his hands.

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