Funny how your life can change in a moment, when you’re least expecting it…
I was having a really good day, out with my mother and sister, visiting friends, chatting about marriage and babies and so on, as we girls do… but then I was suddenly seized by an overwhelming urge to be on my own. I can’t explain it: I wasn’t feeling ill at all, but I told my mother I had a headache and wanted to go home and lie down somewhere quiet.
When I got to the house, someone was standing by the door – someone I had never seen before. I opened my mouth to say that my mother was not at home, but then he bowed to me and said, “Greetings, Mary, most favoured one!” – and my legs went weak and wobbly, just as I felt when they told me my father had died. For a minute I was expecting bad news again – but it wasn’t anything of the kind, but a message from God… almost unbelievable.
I had to go and lie down afterwards anyway… I was so astounded by what he had said. When my mother came home to see how I was, she said that I looked as if I’d seen a ghost. I wanted to say, “I’ve seen an angel,” but it sounded too incredible, so I said, “Somebody told me that Aunt Elizabeth is nearly six months pregnant!”
My mother scoffed at that. “Rubbish! My cousin Joanna was visiting them only a few weeks back, and nothing was said about any pregnancy! Elizabeth wasn’t well, and her husband had some kind of stroke a while ago, poor man; they won’t ever be starting a family now.”
Now I’m confused. Perhaps my mother’s right: I’m getting over-excited about the wedding, and fantasising about babies… Every Jewish girl dreams of being the mother of the Messiah. Why should it be me?