Uncertainty: A Short Story

dirtroad

What if it’s not true?

Peter combed his fingers through the tangles of his beard. He glanced to his left, where his best friend – well, he liked to think of him as his best friend – was walking beside him, sharing some story with the others in that animated way of his. His friend was quite the storyteller. He could captivate an audience for hours on end, with his simple words and unorthodox ways. Peter was proud to know him, to call him his friend. And yet…

He’d be lying if he said that his friend never embarrassed him or made him uncomfortable. Sometimes Peter wished that his friend would just keep his opinions to himself and not make so many waves. Who’d have thought someone else would ever make me uncomfortable, Peter thought, laughing unconsciously. It wasn’t exactly a secret that Peter was somewhat of a loudmouth and hothead himself. In fact, sometimes his other friends had given him grief for not being able to keep his mouth shut. Peter cut his eyes at his friend, who was now humming some unknown tune to himself, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings.

This friend in particular had called Peter out for his hot temper from time to time. Maybe that’s what bothered Peter. Because his friend was just as opinionated as Peter, if not more so. But there was something different about his friend. A meekness. A controlled rage at the injustices surrounding them; and a quiet patience with those who were stubbornly set in their own ways.

What if he’s not who he says he is?

Peter swallowed and tasted the dust of the dirt road on his tongue. His hand went to his tangled beard again – a nervous habit he had developed over the last three years.

Peter was the most vocal of his group of friends – the most loyal. Peter prided himself on being headstrong and fearless. He knew he used his large frame and booming voice to intimidate others and assert his strength. These qualities had always worked well for him to make himself heard, known, and noticed.

But his friend had changed all that. His friend had done what no one else had ever been able to do – he had made Peter doubt himself. Made him question his own motives, his own desire for attention and recognition. Made him question a lot of things, actually.

His friend was everything that Peter was not – maybe in more ways than even Peter could realize. His friend impacted people in ways Peter had never seen before. Peter would never admit it to anyone, but at times he’d felt envious of his friend. Of the obvious power and influence that his friend had over others. What he wouldn’t give for that kind of power…

These feelings – the envy, the uncertainty – confused Peter. He knew he loved his friend and would do anything for him. But he felt unsettled in his heart.

Who is he, really? Peter asked himself. At that moment his friend turned toward him and smiled.

“You with me, Peter?”

Peter blinked, unsure as to what his friend was referring. He must have zoned out and missed what his friend was saying. Not wanting to reveal that he hadn’t been listening, Peter swallowed and plastered a huge grin onto his face.

“I’m with you, Jesus. Til the end.”

—-

See any (or all) of the four Gospels for accounts of the relationships between Jesus, Peter, and the rest of the disciples. 

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