“None for me, thanks,” God says, when offered the security of a few defining boundaries. We’re at a queer bar. In the laughter, music, and seductive light, fireflies dart among those soon to fall. Approaching the revolving door, there’s a howling madman with guns and guns and guns. God runs her fingers through newly permed hair.
“We aren’t safe here,” I whisper.
“We aren’t safe anywhere,” God whispers back. “Relax.”
The beautiful, playful Embodiment raises her glass and winks. Hatred is creating cracks in the foundation beneath us.
“I’ve worried about you most of my life,” I tell her. “You indulge in too many altered states. You’re flimsy, malleable, and easily abused.”
God’s face breaks into a familiar hand-in-the-cookie-jar grin. “Well, at least I’m not gullible. My odds aren’t great, but that’s never stopped me from being true to myself.”
The cracks widen. Suddenly, we’re floating under an oil slick, auditing the military-industrial complex. We’re buying digital currency, baking sourdough bread, digging out from a mudslide. A child has won an assault weapon in a lottery, and ammunition is raining from a thunderous sky.
“This isn’t real,” I shout at the Body trampled by a stampeding crowd.
“Too real,” the Body shouts back, but the message is garbled. Her jaw is broken. This will make it even harder to discern her voice, and I am afraid.
“Fear not,” God declares with bravado. “I can teach you sign language. And I’ll be with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Of course you will,” I mumble. “And that’s what I fear the most.”
“The end of the age?” God asks. “Or me?”
The war is vicious. The outcome, assured. As I untangle strands of vain longings and false hopes, God teaches me the signs for wonder, love, compassion, and peace, and we use them to order another drink. She sips through a paper straw.
I lean across the table to dab dried blood off her chin. My dampened handkerchief gathers the red and transforms into bolts and bolts and bolts of satin, the kind they use for lining coffins.
“I wish I could die innocent,” I say, gazing at God’s mangled face. I will always watch this face and try to wipe the blood away. But I will not die innocent.
God nods. “You should forgive yourself. Dying forgiven is better than dying innocent anyway.” She touches her chest and then mine, and we wait, knowing the music will eventually begin again.