“Marius, guard him. I will go let Quintus know,” the soldier said, heading to the two-story building with a high portico in the recess of the courtyard where the garrison authorities were located.

Raising the hem of the cilice and covering his legs with it, Simon was left sitting on the ground, detached and watching after the soldier, until the latter disappeared inside the colonnade.

On one side of the wide yard were the barracks. On the ground the soldiers practiced sword techniques. A few soldiers started fist fights for fun. Simon even imagined that he recognized one of them, the one who on that scary night escorted Jesus.

Why did Simon come here? Why, unarmed, did he come to the enemies of the House of Israel on his own?

In general, he did not intend to hide anything. At the gates he told the whole, first, and final truth. He came to be arrested and executed. It’s the only thing that he, Simon, deserved. What he wished for most of all, what he expected in turn for his chilling confession, and what he would receive as unheard-of happiness, was to see Jesus, if only for one minute or even half a minute. To tell him just one thing. “Rabbi, I love you. Forgive me.” Oh, if only such happiness befell him, if only.

Simon didn’t know what happened to Jesus and where the Rabbi was now. After the fit had seized him, Simon did not know for how long he was unconscious.

Then Simon roamed the streets of Jerusalem day and night, slept in some gardens, or simply on stone slopes under the scorching sun, not paying attention to hunger or thirst. He could not find any of his apostle brothers anywhere. Everywhere he asked about Jesus, but no one wanted to speak to him. True, compassionate women came his way, who gave him water to drink and offered flat bread or small coins.