Orange and purple waves crashed together splattering an amber rainbow across the horizon as the sun disappeared behind the Middle Eastern desert dunes. The occasional cloud of dust blew by, dry weeds swayed in the calm wind, a dog barked, a man yelled, and a boy leaned against the sandy stones of a well. Mukhlis’s sleeveless shirt, stained with filth, revealed his young tanned arms and hands that flipped a small denari over and over across his agile fingers.
“A wishing well,” Mukhlis mumbled and peaked over the edge of the water well.
‘Little brother, if you throw a coin in a well then you can make a wish!’ Mukhlis recalled his oldest brother had told him this once, I know I can make a wish but who’s to say it’ll come true? ‘You want a wish to come true? Jesus of Nazareth is in our town, why don’t you beg him for a miracle? He has cured plenty of sick men and I heard he made a blind beggar see!’ Mukhlis’ other brother had told him that day before he left for the well. Father’s sick, he can’t work, he can’t get money, we can’t get food, and we can’t survive. I wonder if we’ll be like that beggar soon, if we’ll be on the streets. I hope not, I wouldn’t mind but what if….what if Father doesn’t get better? What if he….
Someone in a house nearby slammed their door shut and Mukhlis flinched, jerking his hand up, and the little coin flew from his fingers into the well. Mukhlis stared into the well long after he heard the quiet splash but he didn’t wish, it wouldn’t do any good anyways, he supposed.
“Hello youngman,” came a voice from behind Mukhlis, startling him half-to-death. If he had still had the coin he would have dropped it in again.
“Hi,” the boy mumbled as he turned around to face the stranger. A hint of fear overcame him, ‘There are bad people in this world little brother, be careful!’ His oldest brother had often told Mukhlis. Yet, as he looked upon the neat brown bearded smile of the stranger, he couldn’t help but smile back.
“What’s a kid your age doing out here?” The man asked as he gestured towards the well with his arm.
“Uh….thinking,” the boy replied as he watched the man sit on the edge of the well.
“Well, what are you thinking about,” the man chuckled, his eyes were bright and reminded Mukhlis of the stars that would be lighting up the sky soon.
Mukhlis didn’t pause before answering. He wasn’t that old and for a kid his age when an adult asked him a question, it was very likely that kid may never shut up but this man took his chances, “My father is sick and he doesn’t look like he’s getting better.”
“Oh, well why do you have to be out here, to think about that?” the man replied with another question, genuinely curious.
“My brother said that I could wish at a well, a wishing well,” Mukhlis replied quickly, sucked in a quick breath and then continued, “My other brother said I should ask Jesus.”
“Jesus of Nazareth, he is in this town you know and he is performing miracles,” the boy continued, “But I don’t think I’ll ask him.”
“Oh really, why not?”
“Well, I’m just a kid and…If Jesus is what he says he is, why would someone have to ask, wouldn’t he just….know? I think he could help people just by the look on their faces,” Mukhlis seemed to talk more to himself than the man.
“Maybe people have to show him they believe,” the man seemed to ask this more than state it.
“But, if you really believed,” the boy’s mind reminded him of another thing his brother had told him, ‘Faith is unquestionable belief, you know that someone will be there for you because you have faith in them’, “You wouldn’t have to ask because you would already know that he would answer your prayer.”
“Hmm, you have a point,” the man nodded his head solemnly.
Somewhere in the distance Mukhlis heard his mother calling his name, holding out the second syllable for emphasis, “Mukhliiiiiiiis.”
“Well I gotta go mister,” the boy sighed and turned to run down the dusty street towards his home. He stopped abruptly. A warm hand wrapped around his wrist holding him back.
“Wait, here’s your coin.”
The man dropped the tiny wet denari in Mukhlis’ hand and the boy understood.