When I touched the thick, leathery skin on God’s neck, she slowly turned her head and met my gaze. “What do you think you’re seeing?” she asked.
“You,” I answered.
“Honey, you know that’s not possible,” she said. I nodded, rubbing lavender-scented lotion into the papery skin on her arms.
“What do you think you’re touching?” she asked.
“You,” I said in a gentle voice.
“Ah, so that’s how it is,” God said. “That’s how it is.” She turned to face the wall.
A billion years. A trillion galaxies. Yesterday. Tomorrow. All abstractions. Best guesses. Notions caught like flotsam and jetsam in the ragged netting of our minds. God gets tired of being a best guess. She tries to deny it, but I can see it in the way the hills are wearing away, the slope of her shoulders as she carries herself into the night.
“Would you like some soup?” I asked. “Or a bit of Jello? It’s raspberry. There’s whipped cream on top…”
“Go away,” God said.
“I can’t,” I said. “I have nowhere to go.”
God sighed. “You have everywhere to go. Everyone to love. Why me? Why are you here?”
“Seriously, God,” I said. “I have nowhere to go. You know that. You’re just being stubborn. I understand you’re tired, but I can’t leave.”
“Too bad for you, then,” God said. “I’m not responsible for your decisions. You make your own bed. Your own busywork. I’ve told you this so many times I’ve lost count.”
“No, you haven’t,” I said. “You never lose count. You never lose anything. Not a hair on my head, not a desolate widow, not a falling sparrow, not a melting glacier. Not farmers or rock stars, queens or queers, suicide bombers or sacrificial lambs. Nothing. No one. Ever. This is why you’re so tired. You need to eat something.”
God raised herself on one elbow and looked at the tray. “Pshaw,” she said. “At least bring me something worth the effort of swallowing.”
I shrugged. “I have no idea what that would be,” I said.
“Right.” God said, her voice stronger. Sharper. “Like I’m supposed to believe that? Get out there and get me a steak.”
“But you’re vegan,” I stammered. “I mean…I assumed you were.”
God glared. I glared back.
“So that’s how it is,” God said.
“Yes,” I finally agreed, admitting to everyone’s greatest fear. “That’s how it is.”