Some say men lack some innate quality that makes them loners—that women excel at friendship, while men eschew community.

Nicodemus comes by day equipped with tools. He steels himself to pry loose nails from palms and feet.

The Arimathean accompanies him. The new tomb he consigned for his own he offers to the family of his friend.

They stand with the Marys, unashamed of tears. Real men who cry. Not even from among the 12.

Blood spurts onto their hands and stains swaddling cloth. Strips of flesh on his back make them grimace.

They still reel from the acts of the treasurer—the betrayer. The ransom for this king, a little silver.

The 12 have run. But these on the periphery for three years remain. Nicodemus tastes salt; Joseph wipes his eyes. They pry the Magdalene away so they can wrap the arch she cradles. Now they must pull away the one they love from the arms of his mother so they can lay him in the grave. It is, they believe, their final act of friendship.

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