Andrew was born many years ago in Yorkshire, England, but now lives in Cheshire where he writes stories and works with prisoners.
Simon the Zealot
“And they out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Mark 16 v8
Aurelia As the battered boat drew closer to the coast of Brettaniai, I vomited again and again, wishing that I were dead. When I roused myself to look where we were heading, all I could see was endless damp greyness, but then, just for a moment, the mist would lift, and there were tall cliffs, ominous and forbidding, looking down on us, and then silently, the mist returned and they disappeared as if they had been the briefest of visions.
I heaved again and clutched my stomach, as the boat rose and fell in the choppy waters, my mouth felt sour and disgusting and I longed for some water to rid myself of the taste. Bennett, the merchant who had befriended us, sighed in sympathy, whilst the others; barbarians every one, with their uncouth language and lack of manners, just laughed; only Simon sitting by my side, said nothing, as if oblivious to everything apart from whatever madness was going on in his head.
I felt exhausted, and wondered what on earth I was doing travelling to the ends of the earth, with someone who had seemed gentle and kind when I first met him, but who I had discovered was driven by a demon of some sort and who was becoming more and more possessed the further West we came. He had not been sick on the boat, but somehow he seemed to have become older since we set off earlier that morning to get to this uncivilised island, changing from a man at the peak of his powers; someone who could laugh and love, to someone who looked like an austere Jeremiah, humourless and self-contained. And then, to complete the illusion, as we drew near to the shore, he started murmuring in Aramaic, his brown eyes vacant and still.
“What is he saying?” asked Bennett, who I suspect was really more interested in me than my companion. I pushed him away as I felt my guts rise once again and I heaved, I felt as if my insides would force themselves out of my mouth and leave just an empty skin behind. Once I had done being sick, Bennett wiped my face with a coarse cloth, any excuse to touch my face, but I was too feeble to fend him off, and perhaps he meant well. I curled up on the floor of the boat which stank of fish and horses, but I did not have the energy to move or to care, and I lay curled up, until the boat pulled up on the sands and everyone started to disembark.
Simon had laughed when I told him my name was Aurelia. I had heard him speaking to a crowd of people; and was drawn towards him. I offered him an orange, large and sweet, and he smiled and asked my name “You are truly a golden one” he said, and briefly touched my fair hair, just as my mother used to do before I was sent away; and from that moment I was his, following him wherever he wilt, and at night I bedded down next to him, and encouraged him to kiss me and stroke my hair and the rest of me.
He never asked me about myself or where I had come from, but during the cold nights, wherever we happened to be, I shared fragments of my life with him, how I became a handmaiden to a Princess in Syracuse, her increasing cruelly, and her brother, who was at first was kind, but who had his own motives. And how I had fled the island of Sicily and landed on the mainland, and after a few days of wandering made it to Naples, which was where I had found Simon, talking to some people about his Master who had died and left him bereft.
And we travelled around the countryside, heading towards Rome but never venturing within its walls, when I asked him why not, he just shook his head and walked ahead, but making sure he was not going too fast for me. He had accepted me without question and when people tried to take me off him, he became tall and fierce and wielded his stick like Heracles and they fled, even the soldiers who made suggestive comments were likely to get the rough edge of his tongue.
He was a tentmaker by trade, so instead of begging he was able to earn his living, sewing and threading, and sometimes that is all we did; setting up a stall for a few days, and mending what people brought him, whilst I cooked and watched, and perhaps he might talk to his customers in the shade of the stall, and someone might invite us to dine with them and Simon would continue to talk about this and that; always watching to see what affect his words were having upon our hosts.
But at other times he would not bother about his tent making, instead we would settle down in the Forum and he would talk to the people who gathered around, about his life in the East, about how he had been a disciple, but the person he followed was hanged on a cross like a criminal, but that some said He had risen again, but others had fled, frightened and alone. A sad story that seemed to have no point to it, but he seemed compelled to keep telling it to anyone he thought he would understand, and he would continually add to it or change things, and slowly he would offer hope, “what if he did rise again?” he asked; “What if he said was true, and that he offered hope for all?”
“Dirty Jews” shouted a man in Verona, and threw a stone, which caught Simon on his shoulder with a dull thud, but he did not even pause with his talking. The crowd, smelling of garlic and cloves, had seemed entertained by my companion’s tales; and several tried to hush the intruder, but he had friends who jeered at us and protected their companion, there were a couple of soldiers on the edge of things, who stood watching and laughing, happy for the crowd to sort it out amongst themselves, being too indolent to get involved.
Another stone was thrown, it just missed Simon’s head and hit someone behind him, and then there were more stones and other pieces of rubbish being thrown, Simon, ever vigilant, grabbed my arm, and we fled seemingly unnoticed, but as we left the square, two soldiers came towards us. “You two, come with us.” They dragged us off to see the Magistrate; marching us through the streets of the city, and as we tried to keep pace with the soldiers, I watched the people getting on with their lives, buying food and gossiping and unaware of the mini riot that had taken place behind them, and which had now probably ended with just a few sore heads and limbs.
We ended up in prison for two days, put in a cell with riff raff from all corners of the Empire, but whilst I sat in a dark corner, trying to make myself small and inconspicuous, Simon was less reserved; he became friends with the owner of a stall, who apparently had been selling rotten meat, and the two of them began chatting, or Simon did and gradually others in the foetid cell also began to listen. “He once healed a blind man – the man had been blind from birth - he came to us, looking frightened but also hopeful. We said to our Master, he must have sinned, or his parents, but He scoffed at us. He then put mud on the blindman’s eyes and then the man washed it off, and he could see. At first he said we all looked like trees, but then he washed them again and he could see us clearly, he kissed our Master and the rest of us, and went away crying with joy.”
The people around us listened; some mocked and said it was a fantasy, but most of the prisoners were impressed, or perhaps they just needed a diversion to take their minds off their surroundings and their fates. And Simon told more and more stories, some I had never heard before, and others that he had told so differently that I wondered what was true and what was not; it was as if he were a storyteller honing his craft to make the best impression and to impart a moral.
I think the guards were glad to get rid of us after the two days, with all Simon’s preaching which they seemed to find disturbing for some reason, and they told us not to come back to Verona again, but there was no danger of that because we never went to the same place twice. We did end up in prison several more times though, and on each occasion, Simon made use of a captive audience, to tell his stories, and the more he talked the more confident he became.
And then slowly we headed out of Italy, through strange and barbarous countries, where only the officials spoke Greek or Latin and where Rome and the Emperor, were just distant rumours. Lands where the sky was always dark, and we groped around in the dark, whilst we shivered in our cloaks. But Simon seemed at home wherever we went; he could still make himself understood and people gave us food and shelter, and listened to what he had to say. And now here we were heading off to an island unconquered by Rome, at the edge of the world, where monsters dwelt amongst the mountains and the people did not bathe or worship the gods, but rather covered themselves in paint and bowed down before oak trees.
Bennett helped me out of the boat and onto the shore, and then Simon and I watched as he and his servant brought out their two horses and checked that his piles of silks, which he had come to sell, were unspoiled by the journey. Once everything was ready we set off, past the ignorant barbarians, who looked at us with contempt, and into the dampest country that I had ever visited. I could understand why Simon wanted to stay with Bennett, at least for the time being, because he seemed to know his way about, and sure enough he quickly found us an inn, where the food was edible and the landlord spoke a few words of Latin.
We settled down in the same room, with a dozen other men and women; the place was thick with sweat and fug, and I struggled to breathe. “Who is he?” Bennett asked, pointing at Simon, who already appeared to be asleep, his chest barely moving. “A good man.” “A good man? I have never met a good man, not when there are women, liquor or gold to tempt them. What does he do here? This is a cold and remote place; no order, no soldiers.” “He knows what he is doing.” I told him, hoping that I sound more convinced than I actually was. “Are you his servant?” he asked me, suggestively. “No, I am his wife.” I replied, and went over and lay beside him, and held him close.
Simon They called me “Simon the Zealot” because I used to fight against the Romans, although when Andrew – a relative of my mother apparently – told me about his Master, and suggested I come and hear him speak, I had already put that aside; I had seen too many of my friends executed or thrown in prison, and I knew a losing battle when I saw one. The Romans were clearly here to stay, and I could not spend the rest of my life fighting against the inevitable, no point, no point at all.
Andrew’s Master looked like an ordinary man, but when He spoke, He did have something about him and he certainly attracted followers; mind you there were plenty of other preachers in tattered clothes, who walked around calling perdition on the Romans and anybody else they didn’t like; women, tax collectors and others working for the state, or those who had stopped worshipping Yahweh. I always used to mock such prophets; they were not helping to get rid of the Romans, and I am not sure why this man was different, or perhaps I just needed another hopeless cause to follow.
At first I was just part of the crowd who followed Him wherever He went, taking days off from tentmaking to hear Him speak, I stayed on the fringes of the crowd; half-hearing what he said and half-seeing the things that he did. But even from a distance, he was compelling and it made a change from endless sewing of tents and being questioned by the Romans about my previous acquaintances.
And people talked about him everywhere I went; things he had said, and more importantly the miracles; men - and even women – being healed, water into wine, devils being cast out and even a curse upon Caesar that rendered him sick – although how did they know? -. Under the hot sun, where there was very little shade, we tended to believe anything; with all this supposed order that the Romans brought us there needed to be an outlet for something strange and mystical, and He offered a crushed people hope.
And then He noticed me; Andrew introduced me, and He asked me a few questions, and gazed deep into my eyes whilst I replied, and next thing I had become one of His entourage. There was no ceremony or initiation, it was accepted that He had picked me, and so I put away my tent making equipment and spent my time with Him and Andrew and the others, eating with them and watching Him listen to their arguments, until he grew weary of their contention and put them down with a pithy comment or told a story that was in some way apposite.
“What is your message Master?” I asked Him. “I offer for hope for these my people, that is who I stand for. My sheep, who I tend like a shepherd.” “My people? The Jews.” “Everyone; Jews, Gentiles, Romans, tax collectors and even those on the farthest shores.” “But aren’t we special; God’s chosen.” And He shrugged; putting away thousands of years of tradition, pages of writing, with just that gesture; and I wondered if it was that easy, or if it should be.
He certainly hated the Pharisees, mocked them when they came to see what the fuss was about, and when they questioned him. But they were the one group who had kept us true to our faith and would have nothing to do with the strange gods that the Roman brought us. Did He want to turn us away from being Jews, turn us into just another people that the Romans had conquered? Another tribe from the desert, bland and dull, without the books of Moses and the hymns of David to make us different, or without our laws to keep us pure?
He sent us out into the countryside to preach, although at first I had nothing to say, but my companion Andrew would stand up and preach; transformed from a brawny fisherman to a prophet of old. “Come to hear him preach” he would urge them, “pack up your belongings, leave your family and come to Him. The time is almost at hand that this world will end; the signs are there for all those who would seek them. Do you not want to be a part of that?” And some listened, and followed us about, at least for a time.
Eventually I picked up some courage and stood in front of a dozen or so people and spoke what was in my heart, and Andrew said I was fine preacher, and when we returned to The Master, and told him what we had done, Andrew praised me to Him, and for a moment He gazed at me, as if He could see into my innermost being, and I felt embarrassed and exposed, and yet oddly proud and brave.
Then they took Him away and executed Him; and yet the world did not end and there was no thunderbolts from heaven; He let them stick Him up high on a cross like they had done to so many of my friends, and no longer was He our Master, instead he was just a body writhing in its death agony. I watched from afar as he was nailed to the cross; His voice stilled, whilst the crowd jeered and – when the soldiers weren’t watching – threw stones.
Andrew stood by my side weeping like a fool. “This is the end” he said. I said no word, just watched our hopes pinned to two pieces of wood, either dead or unconscious, and then saw a soldier stick a sword into His side and it was over. I hugged and kissed Andrew and went on my way, I was frightened and disappointed, but also relieved, as if something heavy had been lifted from my soul. I do not know what I hoped for, but it was not to see Him naked and alone against a dark sky, whilst half a dozen bored looking soldiers stood guard.
I came across Peter a few days later as I walked home in the brief twilight; he looked happier than I expected, he even smiled, which he rarely did except when he was eating. “He has returned.” He told me, his eyes wide with joy, “He did not die, well He did but He has come back to life.” “Are you drunk?” “We saw him, this is how it was meant to be, the old dispensation has gone and we are to usher in the new one.” “Dispensation?” I wondered, where was a fisherman getting such words from? He had always been closest to the Master, and perhaps the sadness had made him possessed. He was clearly ecstatic about something, babbling away, but I managed to resist his invitation to come with him and meet the others.
I left him there raving; and tried to go back to my old life; patching tents and looking for a wife, but I could not escape from my former companions; I kept hearing stories of what had happened when He died on the cross; how the curtain of the temple had been ripped in two, how he had appeared to various people, and apparently it had been the plan all along; that He should die and come back to life, although nobody seemed sure why.
Andrew found me one evening as I sat in my parents’ house, and he took me upstairs to the roof; it was warm and peaceful, just the murmur of voices and the sound of marching feet far in the distance, it was warm, and I lay with my head on a couch, weary from a busy day tent-making. “We are leaving Simon, we are going out into the world to preach of Him, our Master.” “But He died. We saw Him die on the cross.” “But he returned; Peter saw Him, Thomas and some of the others. Come back with me, and let them tell you all about it.” I lay there wearily and watched my friend through half-closed eyes. “Simon, this is the moment, come pack up your stuff, and come with us, this life is over.” “Oh Andrew” I responded at last, “don’t be foolish, I have a life to lead, tents to make, a wife to find and children to beget, and I advise you to do the same; no good can become of this.”
He continued to beg me to come with him, he said that I was one of the chosen, and that He had even mentioned me by name; asked where I was apparently, but I had no inclination to go on a fool’s errand, especially now that I was finding peace for the first time in my life. And eventually he departed, looking disappointed and sad, and I did feel guilty because of his sadness, and at the last moment I almost went with him, but the temptation left me and I let him go on his own.
That night, He came to me as I slept; He came as a Might Army; more powerful than the Roman legions sweeping away everything in their path, as a lion; fierce and cruel, as a wind that crushed towns and cities without mercy, as a plague, that destroyed young and old, man and woman, holy and profane. A force that was destructive and without love or kindness, that was all about power and conquest, and which left me helpless before it.
The next morning, I was up early, with just a staff and a tunic, I fled, not knowing where I was going, but anxious to leave everything that would remind me of the last two years. And for months I just wandered where I wilt; earning enough through tentmaking and casual labour so that I was rarely hungry and always had somewhere to sleep, and this life suited me, so perhaps I am too restless to ever stay still and be like everyone else, perhaps I need to travel, never still or settled.
I had left Galilee to forget about Him and His message, but whenever I settled somewhere, I found that I had the urge to talk to people of what I had seen; I spoke of miracles and wise sayings, parables and metaphors, even though I was never sure what I actually remembered, or what came from my imagination. Perhaps I was trying to understand Him, somebody who was powerful even in death, and who I was not sure if He was from God or the Devil.
And then Aurelius came along; I saw her from the distance, head bowed down, blond hair uncovered like a prostitute, but she stopped and heard me talk, and then she came up to me and offered me oranges. She needed someone and I was glad for the company, and at least I take care of her and she me. Perhaps she is my disciple and others will follow; the dispossessed and the lonely, who need something to make them feel special and powerful. And for the time being I have her, and whatever happens next I am glad that I met her.
I remember early on, before we left Italy; we were somewhere in the North, ahead of us, always ahead of us, was the sun, bright and searching, as if it burnt right through us, deep into our souls. “We need to go where the sun doesn’t always shine, where there is darkness and mist.” She looked a little sad, I think she enjoyed, our travelling throughout Italy, where it was safe and the people spoke a common language. But she agreed to come with me, and promised that she would be by my side, and she has kept her promise faithfully. And the farther we travel, the more persuaded I am that I am doing right; that I am the herald of what Peter described as “a new dispensation,” that the world is changing, is renewed and that I am a part of it.
The funny thing is the longer I travel and the more I talk about Him, the more I realise that I cannot remember what He was actually like; the sound of His voice, His smell, the essence of Him; all I have left are stories and memories of memories, nothing solid, but that seems to be enough.
Bennett I was off to the city of Deva to trade in silks, with my limping slave Achilles, our two horses and our silks, well-covered against the rain. The Mad Prophet and Golden Hair, decided to come along with us, I don’t remember them asking me, but they were company, well Golden Hair was anyway. I could tell she was nervous and did not want to come with us, but Mad Prophet insisted, and so she walked at his side, his arm on hers, slowing us all down. How could such an old man, dressed in rags, and clearly not all there, be husband to such a beauty? I have seen many strange things in my life, but this was one of the strangest.
I had visited Brettaniai a dozen times or more; the Romans thought it was the edge of the world; and sure it was grey and dark, and many of the people ignorant and uncouth, but there were towns and the rich knew good things when they saw it and were willing to trade, and some even knew Greek or Latin. I wouldn’t want to live there mind you, not I, a Citizen of Rome, but it is a good place to trade and to learn new things, and whilst you are young it is right to travel and explore the world, even unto its farthest edges.
And as we walked north, the sun shone, which was something that did not happen often on this cold island, Achilles looked happy and stopped shivering for once, and even the horses radiated content. “There are dragons here, especially in the mountains.” I told Golden Hair, but she refused to answer, not then, but I could tell she did not disbelieve me and was thinking about what I had said. Later as we set up camp, when her companion was otherwise engaged, she asked me. “Have you seen these dragons?” And I answered truthfully that I had seen one once, and that I had heard of them on several occasions. “I saw it in the distance, flying towards the West. I quaked, but it was majestic, as if from an older age. Perhaps they will die out now, especially once the Romans take over this place.” “I hope not” she said thoughtfully, “not all new things are good.” But then The Mad Prophet reappeared and called her over and she came to him in their battered old tent, that belonged in a desert, rather than in a misty, damp land such as this one.
In the early hours of the dawn, I saw him sitting outside, huddled in a blanket, shivering in the cold of the morning. “How are you, old man?” I asked, he looked at me askance, as if he did not realise that he had aged. “I am cold, my bones and my sinews, grow weary.” “You have young Golden Hair, to warm you.” “She is tired.” He stated simply, more dignified than I could ever be.
“They said He walked on water” he told me, “I didn’t see him, but Andrew and Peter did. At least it was a sign of something I suppose.” I looked at him oddly, “who are you talking about?” “My Master. He was in a boat upon Galilee, and He walked across the water to show them where the fish were, or maybe it was because it was stormy and he wanted to leave the boat and get to the shore. He performed many miracles, but that is the one I wished that I had seen.” “I saw a woman fight and kill a lion” I told him, “she tore it limb from limb, and covered her face with its blood.” He walked away, uninterested, annoyed that I also had wonderous tales – more wonderous than his - but Golden Hair gave me a smile, which I returned, you never knew, if The Mad Prophet died she would be all alone and need a man. I walked alongside Achilles, and we muttered about the weather and the road to Deva – none of your straight, paved roads here – and I kept a close eye on my silks carried by my two shivering horses.
The Mad Prophet rarely talked to me after that, he thought I was too cynical I suppose, or I just knew too much to be fooled by another religion, now it was Achilles he seemed interested in; when I got up early in the morning, there they would be washing together and chatting, instead of tending to the horses and packing up, or as we travelled, they would now walk together, whilst Golden Hair and I strode ahead, every so often having to wait for them to catch us up. Achilles was from somewhere covered in forests and I had taught him Greek and a little Latin, but the Mad Prophet seemed to speak to him in his own language, all harsh words and short sentences.
I wondered if they were talking about me, planning Achilles’ escape, although I had looked after him, shared my food, made sure he had stout shoes and warm clothes, rescued him from a life of mud and shit. But I did not like the way they talked quietly and how Achilles looked embarrassed when I came upon them, and pushed the Mad Prophet away, as if he did not want to hear anymore, but soon they would be back together again, muttering suspiciously.
At Deva we found a central position and set up stall and sold plenty of silks and other knick- knacks that I had brought along, however whilst Achilles and I were charming the locals, Golden Hair and the Mad Prophet wandered off, staying away all day, so that I wondered if we had lost them, and whilst I would not have regretted the departure of him – would have welcome it, truth be told - she was an attractive young woman, and it was a long time since I had lain with someone, and I would miss her beauty and her soft words. But as Achilles and I were packing up, and counting our silver, they returned with no word as to where they had been, but they had clearly made some friends, because a few men and women followed us at a distance as we set off for somewhere to make camp.
And then on a hill in the middle of nowhere the Mad Prophet stopped and people started to gather around, so that there were about forty or fifty of them, and he spoke to them in some mongrel language that I could not understand, whilst we stood and watched, Achilles fascinated. “What is he talking about?” I asked Golden Hair. “About his Master I think.” “He does ramble, I need to get on.” “He won’t be long” she reassured me, but he was there until it got dark, so that we had to pitch our tents on the hill and even then the people he had spoken to insisted on staying and I went to sleep with the murmur of their conversation in my ears, and Achilles was sat there with them, drinking it all in like a fool.
And then they left me, all three of them; without a word, or a token, as if I were of no account. I would have expected nothing better of the Mad Prophet, but Achilles, who I had looked after since he was a young man, and Golden Hair, who I am sure wanted me, but in the end could not resist her husband’s madness, they disappointed me, fools that they were.
We had found another market to trade in and then afterwards, as before, a crowd gathered and the Mad Prophet talked to them in their gibberish and Achilles sat with him, and even joined in. And it was odd, because despite the strange language it began to make sense; not every word, but some of it at least, so that I got the gist of it. And I found myself entranced, taken to another world, until I saw Golden Hair looking at me in amusement and so I started to put up our tents to cover my embarrassment.
And she came to me that night as I slept, waking me with a kiss; she must have crept in when the Mad Prophet fell asleep, and she gave herself to me with passion, but uttering only the slightest of noises from beginning to end. She smelt a little of dirt and herbs, no fine perfume on her, but a woman is a woman, and she had a fine body, which glowed white in the gloom of my tent.
But when I awoke the next morning, feeling happier than I had for quite some time, she was no longer lying next to me, and when I stepped out of the tent in the morning light; damp and cold, there was no noise other than my horses uneasily pawing at the ground. Achilles should have been up seeing to them, but he was nowhere to be found, and the tent belonging to Golden Hair and the Mad Prophet had gone, the grass dry, where it had stood, although to my relief they had not taken my goods.
Cursing, I got everything ready, in the hope that they had just gone somewhere to fetch water, and that they would soon return, but in my heart I knew they wouldn’t, and when the sun was high in the sky I set off to find somewhere to sell the rest of my goods, cursing my fool of a slave, the silly Golden Hair who could have been a rich merchant’s wife, and most of all that doddering Mad Prophet who had stolen all my hopes. I prayed that I would come across them as I travelled, they being on foot and hardly sprightly, but I got to the next settlement and sold the remnants of my goods without seeing any trace of my late companions, and after a couple of days of hopeless searching I decided to leave the island and return home.
As I travelled back south, I sometimes heard word of the three of them; how they preached and begged as they travelled; an old man, a young man and a Golden-Haired beauty. I tried to follow their traces; pretending I wanted my slave back, and truly I did, but most of all I wanted Golden Hair in my arms again, murmuring with passion as I caressed her, or perhaps even it was the Mad Prophet I missed with his strange tales of a possessed man in a country full of prophets and madness, and where the people said that they were chosen by God.
In the end I lost track of them, and heard no further word of them, they had disappeared into the atmosphere, like spirits dissolving into the mists of this strange place, and so I left the island, having made money but lost my slave, and a beautiful woman, and yes I felt angry and cross, but also rejected, as if I was not good enough.
But soon after I left the island I purchased another slave and then later a young wife and settled down; now I have a shop in a city called Iconium, where it is always hot and bright, and where people know my name and I am wealthy enough so that I eat well and need not worry about tomorrow. Sometimes, it is true, I think of the three that I left behind, and wonder where they are, and late at night when I become melancholic, I wonder if I should go back to Brettaniai and try to find them, and ask them why they left me behind. But I am getting old now and the damp gets into my bones and I could not travel like I did when I was young, nor would I want to.
I know that sooner or later I will die here and that is not a bad thing; I have a lovely wife who will mourn for me, and I have more memories than most, and I suspect that the Mad Prophet is long dead, whilst Achilles and Golden Hair – if they are alive – are less comfortable than they were with me, and perhaps they regret leaving me that cold morning, to preach to savages and to change the world.
Sometimes my customers tell me of this new religion which they say will sweep the world, pushing aside all the old beliefs and myths as if they were obsolete and childish. And even here in Iconium apparently there are believers amongst the rich and the soldiers, but I am not interested in a religion that takes over your life, and that causes you to wander to the ends of the earth, to preach to an ignorant people. Truly I am content with my life as it is; I have the ancient gods, who I honour and worship, and I have my wife to keep me warm at night, and in the end that is all anybody needs to cling to and to be happy.